Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild talks Mo, Pineda, CC, Kuroda, Pettitte

Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild appeared on the MLB Network Radio channel on SiriusXM on Friday, joining hosts Jim Duquette and Jeff Joyce. Here are some highlights:

On Michael Pineda:

Host/Jeff Joyce:  “What is his status and is he a guy you are expecting or hopeful that will be healthy for you this season?”

Larry Rothschild:  “With elbows it is a lot more predictable and you can expect.  With shoulders, really, I think you take him off the radar screen, bring him back as the injury allows.  But I don’t think we can count on him for next year at all.  And hopefully he comes back and it’s a great addition but if you count on him and think he’s going to be back by a certain point you have a pretty high percentage of being disappointed with that.  So I think you’re better off just approaching it that he’s not going to be back next year.  And if things go right – and he certainly could come back and be able to pitch, I wouldn’t doubt that at all – but for us to count on him, I think, would be a mistake.”

On Mariano Rivera:

Rothschild:  “At the very end of the season I didn’t even think about it.  I thought for sure he’s coming back because of the rehab he’s done and everything he’s done leading up right until the very end of the season.  Really, when I got home I heard that now there’s talk that he may not come back and may retire.  But I don’t know.  I would bet anything that he’s coming back.  But I have not talked to him.  I’ve kind of left him on his own because I think it’s a decision he has to make.  I will probably talk to him in the next week or 10 days or so.  But there are no parameters.  Cash will handle that part of it as far as when he’s going to come back, when the decision is made if he’s not, and we’ll go from there.”

On CC Sabathia:

Joyce:  “Has there been talk about lightening the load a little bit during the regular season based on the load that he’s taken on over the last five, six, seven years?”

Rothschild:  “Yeah, Joe and I talked about it even going back to last year.  This year we talked about it even more.  Not only lightening the load but the pitch total during the game because he’s a guy that almost thrives on working the pitch totals and when he doesn’t have them it has an effect leading into the next start.  Unlike a lot of guys where if they get a little more rest they’re more effective, he works more and throws more pitches he seems to get on rolls a lot quicker.  And what happened, I think, part of this year is he didn’t do it.  We didn’t let him get to that point.  And then with the groin at one point and the elbow at the other we just never got to that point until towards the end and then he got on another roll when he did throw the pitches.  So it’s kind of a Catch-22 with him.  We do have to watch it and we’re going to probably have to watch a few guys on this staff.  We’re aware of it and back off.  When he had a chance to pitch with extra rest we did that.  In the past he would pitch on the fifth day almost all the time.”

On Hiroki Kuroda:

Host/Jim Duquette:  “Do you think there’s a high percentage chance he comes back to you guys?”

Rothschild:  “I think there’s a high percentage chance that if he plays in the States he plays with the Yankees.  I think he enjoyed the experience.  I think his decision, to some degree, is going to be: Is this the year for him to go back to Japan?  He feels like he has a debt to the team in Japan that he played for, that he would like to pitch, I think, another year for them before he retires.  Whenever that comes about I think when he thinks he’s ready to do that that’s what he’s going to do.  And if he’s not then I think we have a good chance to re-sign him and he’ll play for us or, you know, possibly the Dodgers.  I don’t know.  But I know he enjoyed New York and I think if he’s going to play in the States we’re going to have a pretty good shot at bringing him back.”

On Andy Pettitte:

Duquette:  “Do you think he wants to come back to the Yanks?”

Rothschild:  “Yeah, I do.  But I think it’s a decision that when you get home, at the end of the year I would have told you, ‘Yes, absolutely.’  And now I think he still will but, you know, you just don’t know at this time of year.  I think it is his decision again and he’ll sit down with the family and I think the family is pretty much on board with it so, yeah, I think the fires are still there.  It was a freak thing, getting hit with the ball and the fracture of the bone this year.  Can he hold up for 36 starts?  I’m more comfortable thinking a little bit less than that. … I think effectively, if we’re smart about it, he’s going to be more effective with a few less starts than trying to push it through to 32 or 35, whatever it might be, and keep him fresher as long as we can.”

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