Eiland's return not a moment too soon
Who ever thought the return of a pitching coach would carry such fanfare? Dave Eiland is back in the Bronx after a personal leave and he will be a welcome sight. Plenty of work has piled up, especially in the case of starting pitcher A.J. Burnett, who was 0-5 with an 11.35 earned run average in Eiland's absence.
Eiland will also check on Javier Vazquez, who can always use fine tuning. And he will surely weigh in on Phil Hughes, tonight’s starter against the Mariners. Hughes was skipped on the last roadtrip to keep his overall innings in check.
Pitching coaches probably carry the biggest impact of any auxiliary personnel in the majors. Batting coaches get blamed when teams don’t hit, but the axiom that good hitters make good batting instructors seems to hold true. Pitching coaches also can take themselves way too seriously.
Rick Peterson of the Mets, who said he could fix what ailed Oliver Perez in 10 minutes, fit into that category. Hall of Famer Bob Gibson, who was Joe Torre's coach with the Mets and Braves, was not heralded in the teaching department. Dave Duncan of the Cardinals is widely recognized as the top pitching coach in the majors. Former Yankee Dave Righetti also gets high marks.
Eiland got his position largely because of his work in the Yankee farm system with Hughes, Joba Chamberlain and since-traded Ian Kennedy. Eiland seems to have a keen eye for mechanics, though not necessarily how own during his big league career. He was 12-27 in 10 seasons with a 5.74 ERA. He is in his third season with the Yankees.