Sweeny Says: Fine Tuning The Yankees Pitching
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It’s already been a busy couple of weeks for new pitching coach Larry Rothschild. He’s tweaked deliveries with both Joba Chamberlain and AJ Burnett, trying to get both to be more consistent. He’s also given Phil Hughes a few pointers on his change-up, trying to work that pitch back into the repertoire.
This is what a pitching coach does, of course. But why is it that pitchers, these amazing creatures of habit and routine, are so willing to try new things at this time of year? Joe Girardi discusses this idea:
So while the next few weeks will be filled with stories of these pitchers working with these little adjustments, they could very easily find themselves falling back into old habits as the pressure of trying to win real games becomes the main focus. That is why the perception that Dave Eiland couldn’t help these guys last year is inaccurate. The pitchers themselves are reluctant to make even minor changes sometimes when they are on the mound with the game on the line.
There is rarely such a thing as losing the battle to win the war when you play for the New York Yankees. Every day’s battle is as important as the day before. This is why it’s easier to get AJ Burnett to work on mechanics in March than it is in July, and why it’s easier to get Phil Hughes to throw his change-up more on a 2-0 counts in March than it is in the same situations in June.
It makes for good positive material during the exhibition season. The hope is that these guys carry the good feelings with them and improve along the way. It will be interesting to see how these guys carry forward as we get closer to the regular season.
*Burnett described gave a brief description Wednesday of his new delivery compared to his old one, trying to eliminate the left leg swing that throws him off balance and destroys his mechanics. There are similarities as he notes, but the change should result in more consistency: