Rothschild headed back to Chicago

Don’t be surprised if Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild walks into the wrong dugout.

After spending nearly a decade in the home dugout, Rothschild realizes it’s going to be a little different taking in a game from across the way in Wrigley Field’s visiting team’s dugout.

“Nine years is a long time,” Rothschild said.

After joining the Yankees in the offseason to be their pitching coach following nine years in Chicago, Rothschild will head back to his old stomping grounds when the Yankees take on the Cubs starting Friday.

“I have a lot of good friends there and I was treated very well there,” Rothschild said. “It will be good to see some people.”

After serving as the Rays’ first manager before being fired in 2001, Rothschild latched on with the Cubs in 2002. He joined the Yankees after signing a three-year deal last offseason, largely because the Yankees’ spring training complex is close to his Tampa, Fla., home.

In his time with the Cubs, Rothschild helped develop pitchers like Carlos Zambrano, Kerry Wood and Mark Prior.

Rothschild described Wrigley Field as a special place, calling it one of the two “dinosaur parks” left in baseball alongside Fenway Park. He likes long-standing traditions, like the old scoreboard, and labeled it a different environment.

His advice for his pitchers will be simple.

“It depends on which way the wind is blowing but keep the ball down mostly,” Rothschild said. “You might have to be aware of the conditions a little bit but you can’t change what you do.”

Rothschild said he no longer owns a house in Chicago, but hopes to catch up with his parents and family at some point. He said he expects a hectic weekend, which begins with Friday’s 2:20 p.m. game.

He’s also looking forward to catching up with the people he spent so much time with the past nine years, from the weight coaches to the clubhouse personnel.

“Wrigley Field is a special place but more than anything else it’s just being around the people,” Rothschild said. “The clubhouse guys and front office people, the players there. It was all good.”