New York Yankees: Dave Eiland

A.J. Burnett's decline last season coincided almost perfectly with the leave of absence taken by pitching coach Dave Eiland, who left the club for still-undisclosed personal reasons last June just as Burnett -- 6-2 at the time -- embarked on a five-game losing streak.

In trying to praise Larry Rothschild, who replaced Eiland as pitching coach this season, Burnett raised some eyebrows when he said "I have nothing against Dave. But you just click with certain people, I guess,'' in regards to the way he and Rothschild hit it off during a two-day meeting at Burnett's Maryland home last month.

Burnett also alluded to "listening to a lot of people that maybe I shouldn't have, or maybe I should have,'' without making it clear whether any of those people was Eiland.

Reached by phone Monday afternoon, Eiland -- who is now working as a special adviser to the Yankees divisional rivals the Tampa Bay Rays -- said there was never a rift between himself and Burnett. "Absolutely not,'' Eiland said. "A.J. and I never had a problem.''

He did, however, say he believed Burnett might be ready to do something he was not ready to do last season, namely put himself into the hands of his pitching coach in an attempt to repair what went wrong in his horrendous 2010 season.

"I think he's ready to make those adjustments he needs to make now,'' said Eiland, who was fired the week after the Yankees were eliminated from the ALCS. "Sometimes guys have got to stumble and fall a little bit before they're ready to do what they need to do. At the end of last season, he told me, "I tried it my way and it didn't work. I'm in your hands.'' That was our plan for the off-season but we never got to implement it for obvious reasons.''

Like Rothschild, Eiland believes Burnett's problems to be more mechanical than mental -- "inconsistencies in his delivery'' -- although he also said he sensed that Burnett was not throwing his pithces with full confidence for much of last season.

"You gottta have conviction in every pitch you throw,'' Eiland said. "You can’t half-step it or you’re going to get hit hard. You've got to believe in every pitch. And I don't think A.J. did last year.''

Despite the fact the Yankees and Rays finished within a game of one another last season and could be locked in a bitter playoff battle again this year, Eiland said he hoped Burnett solved his problems this season. "I'm pulling very hard for A.J.,'' Eiland said. "He's a good guy and I want to see him have success.''

Eiland returning Tuesday

June, 27, 2010
6/27/10
7:09
PM ET
Yankee pitching coach Dave Eiland, who left the team June 4 to attend to an undisclosed personal issue, will return to the club Tuesday when the Yankees open a three-game series with the Seattle Mariners at Yankee Stadium.

"It's been in discussion the past couple of days,'' manager Joe Girardi said. "I talked to Dave last week and there was a time period where things had to be worked out. Dave is going through some personal things and he's ready to come back now. It's good to be whole again.''

In Eiland's absence, bullpen coach Mike Harkey has been serving as the interim pitching coach, but on several occasions, Girardi has paid the visits to the mound normally handled by the pitching coach. Girardi said Eiland has been aware of what's been going on with the team, although at least one of the Yankees pitchers, Phil Hughes, said last week that he had not spoken to Eiland in the three weeks thathe has not been with the team.

"I think you'd have to have been on a deserted island with no TV and papers if you're a baseball guy to not know what's been going on,'' Girardi said. "As much as he could, with the stuff he needed to take care of, he was keeping up. He was not on a deserted island. He was not with Gilligan or Skipper.''

But Girardi acknowleged he, too, had limited contact with his pitching coach. "I let him have his space to take care of what he had to take care of,'' he said.

Asked if Eiland spent his time away from the ballclub at his home in Florida, Girardi said, "I'm not gonna tell you exactly what he was doing. That's his business.''

Eiland's departure from the team coincides precisely with the decline of A.J. Burnett, whose string of five straight defeats began June 4, culminating in the three-inning, six-run flameout he suffered in Saturday's 9-4 loss to the Dodgers.

Burnett was not at the ballpark today -- he returned home to attend the funeral of his grandfather, who died earlier in the week -- but Girardi said he hoped Eiland's return would benefit Burnett, whose next scheduled start is Friday against the Blue Jays.

"It could help, and I certainly hope so,'' Girardi said. "Obviously, it's important for us to get A.J back on track and if it works, it'll be great.''

Eiland: Fans will love Javy in the end

April, 28, 2010
4/28/10
6:11
PM ET
Yankees pitching coach Dave Eiland thinks that Yankees fans are not only going to stop booing Javier Vazquez, they are going to love Javy.

In an interview for 1050 ESPN New York's Baseball Tonight, Eiland said that he needs to keep Vazquez focused on his job, not potential boos when Vazquez goes in front of Yankee fans on Saturday.

"That's my job to keep his focus on pitching," Eiland said. "My message has always been one pitch at a time, one hitter at a time, one inning at a time, and that is what he has to do. Part of pitching here in New York is you have to block out some of this stuff. This is a tough place to pitch. He has pitched here before and he has had a lot of success here so I expect him to get things rolling again.

"These New York fans are passionate and rightfully so. He's going to be fine. I hope they have a little bit of patience with him. In the end, they are going to love him and not want to boo him."

One person who has not shown love for Vazquez is ESPN's Curt Schilling. What did Eiland think of Schilling's comments about Vazquez.

"I don't pay too much attention to what happens outside this clubhouse," Eiland said. "Everyone is entitled to their opinion and that's fine. That's the American Way and God Bless them all."

Opening Day (Yanks @ Red Sox)

April, 4, 2010
4/04/10
6:45
PM ET
11:55 Before you panic Yankee fans, remember last year you lost the first eight to the Red Sox.


11: 44: Joba is looking like the seventh inning guy with every pitch he throws in the eighth.


11:41: Joba and I talked about this type of situation. He wants to be able to self-correct without Dave Eiland coming out or Jorge needing to talk to him. Now, it is a single and a walk and Joba is in trouble here with one out.


11:28: Neil Diamond Live here. He is wearing a sweatshirt tht says, "Keep the Dodgers in Brooklyn."


11:11: Somewhere in the Yankee dugout, A. J. Burnett is saying, "See! I told you the guy can't catch!'' Posada's passed ball allows go-ahead run to score. And now, it's Joba Time!


11:11: Hip, Hip, No-way. How did Posada miss that? Yankees now down. Marte now out. And guess who is in? Joba.

11:08: Chan Ho Park didn't allow a HR in 50 IP as a reliever last season. 1st inning of relief as a Yankee, he yields one. (Via ESPN Stats)


11:01: Chan Ho Parked. Dustin goes deep and it is sevens wild here. Pedroia jacks Park's 2-1 fastball over the Monster to tie it. This one has Joba written all over it.



10: 53: Chan Ho Park coming in for the seventh, should mean Joba for the eighth, right?


10:48: Obviously, Okajima didn't get the memo about Granderson vis-a-vis lefties. Pitching too carefully, walks him on a 3-2 fastball.


10:45: Gosh, I feel like I've seen this movie. 2009 revistited. A team dare to comeback on them and they make them pay. You can walk the leadoff guy in front of A-Rod. A-Rod double, followed by Cano RBI groundout and an RBI single for Posada.


10:36: Robertson comes in and Beltre hits a game-tying single. We didn't see it on that swing, but a talent evaluator said that Beltre's swing is perfect for the Fens.


10:31: That's it for CC, 5 1/3. It is forgotten now, but CC didn't start last year that well. He had a nearly five ERA the first month.


10:28: As we said earlier, Youkilis hits Sabathia well. His two-run triple and suddenly we have a ballgame. Sox within one, 5-4, Yanks, here in the sixth. If Sabathia gets through this inning, that is probably it for him.


10:07: Clutch pitch by Sabathia to get Ellsbury looking at a slider to end the fifth with Sox on second and third


10:02: Was that Johnny Damon in left? Gardner hurting his back page possibilities with the worst throw in this area since Tony Eason's final days with the Pats.


9:59: Drew's single with one out in the fifth the first hit allowed by Sabathia since Youkilis' double in the second.


9:51: Grand(erson) Opening, but he still can't hit lefties. I can hear Yankee fans saying they are worried about that. They may be right.


9:48: Bye-bye Beckett walks off after 4-2/3 innings, 94 pitches, five runs, two home runs, three walks and only one strikeout. Schoeneweis coming in to relieve


9:47: Beckett is done for the night. He started off well, then the Yankees pounded him. The best news for the Yanks, so far are 0-for-8, but the Yankees are up 5-1 in the fifth.


9:41: Hideki Who? Cano, who has hit the ball hard all three at-bats, held to a 390-foot single n a shot off the base of the right-field fence. Meanwhile, A-Rod hitless with a DP in his first three at-bats. How much longer before he squanders all the equity he built up last October?



9:35: CC having a little chat with home plate umpire Joe West upon leaving the mound after a strong fourth inning.

9:32: Beckett up to 74 pitches through four innings; Gardner is the first Yankee to steal home since A-Rod did it July 31, 2004 vs. Baltimore, also on the back end of a double steal

9:30: Brett Gardner steals home on the double-steal with Jeter. Gardner making a case for the Back Page. "Boston Gardner."

9:23:It is officially baseball season. The first "Yankees s**k" chants of 2010

9:22: Johnny Who? Gardner now two-for-two, line single to left drives in the Yankees third run of the night, 3-1 in the fourth. The Captain adds an RBI single to make it 4-1.

8:52: Quite the debut thus far for Curtis Granderson. Early Back Page leader, "GRAND OPENING." Still, a lot of baseball to play.

8:43: Kevin Youkilis nails a double off the Green Monster in the bottom of the second. He always hits Sabathia well. In his career, he is a little less than .300 hitter against the big man.

8:32: Curtis Granderson's homer is important on a lot of levels. There is nothing better for new Yankee than to get the fans behind him early. A poor start can avalanche. So that was bigger than just one run.

8:29: Jorge Posada goes deep off the Pesky Pole. To me, out of the core four, Posada is the most important Yankee this year, because although the other three core four guys are not easily replaceable, I don't know if Francisco Cervelli is ready to play every day, if Posada were to get hurt. He didn't hit in the minors and it is unknown if he can repeat what he did last year.

8:08: Pedro Martinez did indeed throw out the first pitch. It was a meatball, but it may have been harder than any of the pitches he threw in the World Series. Pedro got a nice ovation, until, of course, he hugged A-Rod.

7:07: Who's your Daddy? The word is the Pedro Martinez will throw out the first pitch. The Sox haven't said for certain. If true, it should get 2010 off to a loud start.

6:42 p.m: It seems like Joba is getting the ball in the eighth tonight. Joe Girardi declined to answer when he was asked who would be his reliever if he needs a bridge to Mo, but I think it will be Joba.

I spoke with pitching coach Dave Eiland a little while go and he said the Yankees know who will throw the eighth. He, like Girardi, wouldn't reveal who it will be, but he did say that, "Joba pitches on adrenaline. If he can't get for this situation ..." His voice then trailed off.

I asked him, whom else could pitch the eighth, he mentioned Damaso Marte, David Robertson and Chan Ho Park. Unless there is a matchup issue, I can't really see any of those guys being given the chance at the eighth before Joba.

Yankees Lineup:

Derek Jeter, SS
Nick Johnson, DH
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Jorge Posada, C
Curtis Granderson, CF
Nick Swisher, RF
Brett Gardner, LF

CC Sabathia, LHP

Red Sox Lineup:

Jacoby Ellsbury, LF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Victor Martinez, C
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
David Ortiz, DH
Adrian Beltre, 3B
J.D. Drew, RF
Mike Cameron, CF
Marco Scutaro, SS

Josh Beckett, P

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Masahiro Tanaka
WINS ERA SO IP
12 2.51 135 129
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Ellsbury .277
HRM. Teixeira 20
RBIJ. Ellsbury 55
RB. Gardner 77
OPSB. Gardner .788
ERAM. Tanaka 2.51
SOM. Tanaka 135