New York Yankees pitching coach, Matt Blake, spoke with reporters from his home in Cleveland on April 1st. He spoke of the challenges in these stressful circumstances of working with the pitchers without having eyes on them.
Blake stressed the importance of each pitcher working to find a balance between baseball and their family and community responsibilities. Each pitcher is at work staying healthy and keeping ready to resume their Spring Training work towards a season that is still in jeopardy.
Even the Commissioner himself probably lacks certainty as to when, or if, Major League Baseball will begin in 2020 – there have been suggestions that the league play a shortened season without an All Star Game and with games going into November. But without a firm return date for baseball, Blake says:
“You are kind of guessing more than anything,” new pitching coach Matt Blake said Wednesday in a media conference call. “I think you’re kind of idling them as much as possible and trying to find out a good rhythm for all of them, given their circumstances.”
The Yankee pitchers are each working out in their separate locations: Gerrit Cole in New York, James Paxton in Wisconsin, Jordan Montgomery in South Carolina, JA Happ in Florida and Masahiro Tanaka in Japan. Blake has had to tailor workouts for each pitcher’s individual circumstances.
“We’re trying to get guys to get on the slope for one high-intensity session a week or one long-toss session at high intensity just to kind of make sure they’re pushing their motor up a little bit. And then the rest of the week, just kind of moving the ball around a little bit, whether it’s some moderate long toss or some flat ground (throwing), things of that nature.”
As far as relief pitchers go, Blake said that it is not as important for them to be on a mound at this point as it is to keep them moving and putting healthy stress on their pitching arms.
The Yankee pitching coach has his work cut out for him negotiating a season with so many uncertainties ahead and fans are eager to see the impact he has on the performance of the pitching staff whenever baseball begins.