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Run by The Trentonian's Nick Peruffo, this blog will provide daily multimedia coverage of the Trenton Thunder.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Another Q & A with Gil Patterson

TRENTON – Earlier this week, The Trentonian had the opportunity to sit down with Yankees pitching coordinator Gil Patterson at Arm & Hammer Park for a discussion about all things arms within the organization. With the exception of a few items saved for later use, here is that conversation.

JN: When it comes to promotions, what kind of factors does the organization look at before pulling the trigger?

GP: Being my first year here, and every organization is different, sometimes need determines whether a guy goes up or not, and then also who goes up. There’s different thoughts in it. Maybe a guy’s age, maybe a guy’s performance that season. Let’s just take as an example (Mikey) O’Brien’s case.

O’Brien was here last year, and when the (Caleb) Cotham thing became available, it opened up a spot for him. He’s pitched for well for us. In that case, that was kind of an easy fix.

Sometimes other ones are a little more difficult to figure out. There were thoughts involved, and it’s a careful decision. A lot of times, the person who makes the ultimate decision gets a lot of input from just about everybody involved, except the player.

JN: How quickly does it take you to identify what kind of role a pitcher could have when he reaches the major leagues?

GP: For the most part, that is decided once you get to the big leagues. Here in the last 15 years, there’s not too many guys around who are going to take Rivera’s spot. That means the Robertsons and Chamberlains are going to be very effective in that seventh- and eighth-inning role.

All we try to do is just get them ready. We might have where they can pitch and what role, but I’m not sure if anyone knows – especially me – what’s actually going to happen at the big league level until they get there.

JN: So if Brian Cashman calls you and says, ‘Hey, we’re going to select, say, Burawa’ what would you say to him?

GP: I would say he is showing signs of being quite ready, because of his stuff. That’s the physical side, and I think that everyone knows that the mental side is just as important as the physical -- if someone can handle the pressure of pitching in the big leagues first, pitching in New York second. Our biggest goal now, mentally, is being able to focus on one pitch at a time and not letting anything bother that, not letting anything bother our next pitch.

I think if a lot people just read Roy Halladay’s quotes this week, and the book that he read is a book that we read, as far as the mental side. Getting guys that mental toughness and discipline is extremely important for us, along with the physical.

JN: How has teaching mental readiness evolved since you’ve been in this game?

GP: It’s something that people, I think, for the most part, don’t practice enough. Going back to the Halladay article, here’s a guy with two Cy Youngs and 200 wins, and he mentioned how he got away from it a little bit and now has to go back and refresh himself. If someone of that magnitude has to do it, then I think all of us have do it.

As a staff and as pitchers, they’ve got to be able to (be mentally ready). Sometimes it’s having meetings on pitching, and pitchers and pitching coaches have meetings on a daily basis to go over the game, the mental and the physical side. Then we also have the book that we read from. The kids read it and talk about it amongst themselves and talk about it in front of the group. They do a nice job, the pitching coaches that the Yankees have, do a nice job of making sure the mental side is covered.

JN: With Rondon moving out of the rotation, did you guys as an organization see what you wanted to see from him, results aside? Was the goal, long-term, to develop him as a starter or was it to develop him in different situations for an eventual role in the pen?

GP: Sometimes you never know. He’s athletic, and he does have three pitches. And a lot of times when you’re talking about a starter, those are some of the qualities they have to have: Three pitches, and in his case fastball with some life on it, tight slider and a change-up.

It seems like, for him to be focused for those 100 pitches was maybe a little bit difficult. And we already know that he’s been pretty good out of the bullpen. Sometimes you can catch lightning in a bottle. And in this case we tried it. It didn’t work as well as I had hoped.

So he’s back in the bullpen, and in speaking with him, he’s happier about it as well.

JN: Will the experience make him a better reliever?

GP: I think it should. I think it will at least teach him that he doesn’t have to go in and just fire fastballs all the time, that he does have two other, quality pitches that he can use to get himself out of situations with guys on base. He doesn’t have to just rear back and try to throw the ball as hard as he can.

JN: With Jose Campos in Charleston, what does he have to do to get his workload ramped up past what he’s been at in the early part of this season?

GP: When someone misses a full season, as he did last year, you’re always cognizant of the fact that you want to give him enough work that next year, but not too many (innings) to overload him. I’m not sure if anyone knows the exact number of innings to give someone after a year of being missed, but we pretty much have him on a three- to four-inning stint. And we’re hoping that if we get those 25 starts or so, to get him close to that 85- to 90-inning range. 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks. Good Read.

May 13, 2013 at 12:12 PM 

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