While New York Yankees legend Mariano Rivera threw his last pitch as a big-leaguer in 2013, his journey as a professional was far from over. Being named the first-ever player to be unanimously inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame was the first step in an extended career for the best closer of all time.
The Sandman returns:
Rivera in an interview withÂ MLB Network Radio’s CJ NitkowskiÂ on Thursday claimed that he would be “teaching pitching” with the Yankees to some degree this season. Lucky for Dellin Batances, Adam Ottavino, Zach Britton, and Aroldis Chapman. They will be fixated on his lessons and recipe for success in the dying moments of significant games.
And he sounds like he knows exactly what he needs to do: pic.twitter.com/7NPsgA1gyP
— MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (@MLBNetworkRadio) January 24, 2019
“I’m going to start working with the New York Yankees and teaching pitching,” Mariano stated. “So many guys throw hard but don’t have command. We need to teach these boys to pitch. Pitchers are getting away from pitching and are focused on throwing hard.”
With the focus in this day and age is how hard a pitcher can throw and not their fundamentals and the effectiveness of a perfectly placed ball, closers are losing their tactical approach. You don’t need to throw the hardest to be efficient in collecting outs, and Rivera’s infamous cutter can attest to that statement.
Former catcher A.J.Â Pierzynski statedÂ in regard to Rivera’s cutter:
He puts it in the right spot every time. He never makes mistakes. Heâ€™s the best ever at throwing that pitch that no one can figure out how to hit [it]. Thatâ€™s what makes him so tough for so long, you know what youâ€™re going and you still canâ€™t hit it, thatâ€™s pretty frustrating.
Teaching this pitch isn’t as easy as grip, it’s a combination of arm angle and everything in-between. Mariano’s role will likely be to help polish what the current pitchers on the Yankees already have, smoothing out the edges and helping them discover a more effective way of throwing the ball.
It will be exciting to see what he can offer the bullpen and if we will see a difference in their styles next season.