"It's something that's been going on for about four starts now," Hughes said, though he couldn't pinpoint an exact moment it started. "[Manager Paul Molitor] and [pitching coach Neil Allen] are aware of it. Usually when I get around 60-70 pitches, I get a tick or two of velocity off my fastball. I made them aware of it in the sixth inning. It's a tough lineup to navigate, especially the third time through, without my best stuff and trying to battle and grind."
It was one of Hughes' best starts of the season, keeping a potent Tigers offense quiet for most of the night. Molitor said they've tried to be conservative with Hughes to make sure it doesn't turn into a problem. It's not a pitch count issue as much as innings, as the fatigue sets in between sitting down and throwing on the mound.
Hughes said he simply has to strengthen the shoulder, and he's increasing the work in bullpen sessions.
"It's more something to address in between starts," he said. "It's not like I can go out and expect to grind through, because these games matter, and we have to find a way to win some. I can't grind through the seventh inning to build arm strength. It has to be done on the side."
Chris Vannini is a contributor to MLB.com based in Detroit. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.