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Five questions with Jason Hirsh

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Mar 02, 2010 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

You might see Jason Hirsh pitch in tomorrow’s spring opener. He was once ranked among the top pitching prospects in baseball and had a 2.10 ERA in the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League in 2006. He was traded to Colorado that winter, but his big league career was almost immediately knocked off course by a series of injuries. The Yankees acquired him late last year and the 28-year-old had a 1.35 ERA in six starts for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

ph_444865

How does everything feel compared to how it felt the past two or three years?
Hirsh: I’m healthy and I kind of feel like my old self. When I came over to this organization last year, in July, I started to feel like my old self again. I started pitching like my old self again. This offseason, I did a little bit different training routine. I only took two weeks off of throwing and then I played catch three days a week just to keep on throwing because my arm felt so good at the end of the season, I didn’t want to lose that feeling. Then I did a less traditional workout, more of a functionality workout. We didn’t lift as many heavy weights. We did a lot of body weight stuff, did a month of yoga. Back in California I did long toss, and my arm feels right now better than it’s ever been. Mentally and physically I feel like I’m back to where I should be.

You say back to your old self, what do you do when you’re pitching like your old self?
Hirsh: When I’m healthy, I throw strikes. I eat up innings. I compete. I’m going to go out there and give you my best. When I’m at my best, I’m a sinker-slider kind of guy. Changeup, since I’ve been hurt my changeup has developed quite well, and then when I got traded over here, they wanted me to start throwing my curveball again and that’s starting to come around. Right now I feel like I have three real quality pitches and one that’s borderline, almost right there. I just haven’t been throwing (the curveball) that much. Some days it’s an A+ pitch and some days it’s a D pitch. I’m still trying to get the feel for that.

After your Double-A season and your Triple-A season, you were right there, ready for the big leagues. Then all of the injuries happened. How frustrating was that?
Hirsh: Up until that point, I had never rolled an ankle, broke a bone or had an arm injury my entire life, from childhood right up until then. And I managed to roll an ankle, break a leg and strain my rotator cuff all in a two-year period. It’s just something unusual for me. I don’t know what contributed to it, whether it was bad luck, bad karma, whatever it was. Now that I’m past that, I feel good. I’m taking care of myself, taking the necessary steps to avoid that again.

Did all of the injuries happen in Houston or Colorado?
Hirsh: Colorado. I got traded in the winter of ’06 to the Rockies and in ’07 is when the injuries started piling up. I rolled my ankle in July, and then I missed a month. I made one start in Florida and then my next start was in Colorado against Milwaukee and I broke my leg. Pitched six innings with a broken leg, and then I missed the rest of the year. J.J. Hardy hit a nice little line drive right off his bat and right off my leg.

You came to this organization with bad numbers in Colorado Springs, but pitched well for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. What changed?
Hirsh: (The numbers) were terrible. I think for me, mentally, it was more of a clean slate. The Yankees had no idea who I was or what I did. They had no preconceived notions of anything, and I was the same way with them. It was almost like I get to impress again. At the time that I was traded, I was just starting to feel healthy again. When I got to Scranton, my slider came back around. My changeup was alright. I was able to locate my fastball in and out. Everything just fell into place, and that’s why I didn’t want to take that much time off in the offseason. I didn’t want to stop with that good feeling.

 
 

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49 Responses to “Five questions with Jason Hirsh”

  1. Betsy - Romine wasn't built in a day March 2nd, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    Another interesting interview – thanks Chad! Hopefully Jason will do some good things for us; as he put it, he’s got a clean slate here.

  2. Rich in NJ March 2nd, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    Yay, semi-real news.

  3. Betsy - Romine wasn't built in a day March 2nd, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    Ugh, well I was trying to say that plenty of people thought the Yankees ruined Phil by changing the mechanics he had in Trenton in 2006.

  4. Rich in NJ March 2nd, 2010 at 10:07 pm

    Don’t the Yankees deny that they did that, Betsy?

  5. CB March 2nd, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    (repost):

    “Hurts to say this, but he has star ability….”

    Pat M.,

    Sounds like Cole did his best AJ Burnett impersonation but pulled a few rabbits out of his hat to get through that first inning.

    What were your impressions of Cole’s slider? I read some good things about how that pitch is coming along for him.

    Great arm. Read he was touching 99 in that first inning, sitting 94-96 on his four seamer.

    Also, what did you think of Sonny Gray. Interesting kid. Small frame with a fast arm.

  6. stuckey March 2nd, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    I think some of the anxiety over Hughes and Chamberlain’s future is somewhat akin to the old children’s tale that if you make a funny face and someone hits you on the back it will stick.

    I think people are afraid if either/or is placed in the bullpen role again and succeeds, it will stick.

    I think the Yankees are well versed in what we all know about the differences in the value of a starting pitcher and a reliever. In fact, since the Marte deal/contract we’ve seen evidence the Yankees know EXACTLY the value of a reliever in the contemporary market.

    We should all hope Hughes and Chamberlain both make the Yankees and both succeed, in either/or role.

    It won’t be a life sentence for either of them, unless the Yankees decide for reasons other than their success in role that they won’t ever succeed consistently as a starter.

  7. GreenBeret7 March 2nd, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    Hirsh was one of the next big things coming out of school. What a big boost he could be for NYYs if he gets back to that point. I wonder how much pitching in the Colorado thin air played in anything as far as changing his mechanics? If he’s healthy, he could still be a horse at 6 foot 8 inches and about 250 pounds, and, he’s fairly young. He’s just turned 28 in February.

  8. Rich in NJ March 2nd, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    I don’t mind Hughes or Joba being in the pen, as long as they remain sufficiently stretched out to transition to being a starter if/when a the Yankees need more than a spot start.

  9. upstate kate March 2nd, 2010 at 10:17 pm

    I am still hoping both end up as starters, but as long as they stay w/ the Yankees, I don’t really care.

    I have been watching bits and pieces of Ken Burns’s Baseball as I get things done around the house. The only way to watch it, or it puts me to sleep. Tonight is the 70s-80s. The rise of free agency and Steinbrenner, Bucky Dent, the “we are family” pirates, Bill Buckner.

  10. Betsy - Romine wasn't built in a day March 2nd, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    I think so, Rich – I’m not sure.

    Kate, I love baseball history so it could never put me to sleep. I could have spent a week at the HOF…….

  11. MTU March 2nd, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    (Repost)

    CB-

    ” It’s possible that that pitcher has disappeared and won’t come back but it’s also very possible that this is just the ups and downs of a young pitcher.

    It’s wait and see for right now. I’m still hopefully the team gets that pitcher back.”

    From your lips to the Baseball G-d’s ears.

    And with that I say get well soon Joba.

    I’m off to dream my optimistic dreams of our young starters.

    And GB-

    This time when Joba throws the 1 hitter. He is gonna nail that guy we spoke about. ;)

  12. E-gawa March 2nd, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    I don’t know why but my computer keeps freezing when I visit this blog today. I think it’s those arcade pictures.

  13. upstate kate March 2nd, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    Betsy
    I love the history too, but the narrator has such a soothing voice. I see bits and pieces every time it comes on and eventually I will see it all.

  14. Doreen - Bunnies for a Cause March 2nd, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    upstate kate -

    Funny you should say that about Ken Burns’ baseball. I keep saying I need to DVR it and watch it in the morning, or buy the DVD so I can watch it earlier in the day. it puts me to sleep, too. (The Civil War series, too.) It’s the calm narrative and folksy music. I think. Because the stories are compelling.

  15. BFARBS March 2nd, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    guess whats back…thats right its 2010 GTLU!! thought it would never come

    SS Derek Jeter
    RF Nick Swisher
    1B Mark Teixeira
    DH Marcus Thames
    CF Curtis Granderson
    2B Robinson Cano
    C Francisco Cervelli
    3B Ramiro Pena
    LF Brett Gardner

  16. Joe from Long Island March 2nd, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    Thanks again, Chad, for these interviews. If Hirsh comes on in Scranton, and stays injury-free, he could be a valuable ML pitcher for somebody – maybe even the Yanks. You never know.

  17. Betsy - Romine wasn't built in a day March 2nd, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    Oh, Kate – lol. It’s true…..I bought the DVD box set last year and watched up to the 1950′s (I think). Unfortunately I got caught up in other stuff and haven’t watched it since, but it’s fantastic. I particularly love early baseball history and they cover that very well.

  18. GreenBeret7 March 2nd, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    Ahhhh….Billy Buck. My favorite non-Yankee player.

    just kidding. Billy Buck took a bad hit on that one play. He was an exceptional ball player who could have been so much better had he not had that brutally ugly collision at home. Six brolen bones in his ank;e. He was on his way to the HOF.

  19. upstate kate March 2nd, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    GB
    I never understood why he got all the blame. It wasn’t even the play that lost the series, it was only game 6.

  20. GreenBeret7 March 2nd, 2010 at 10:48 pm

    Doreen, the name of the song that plays throughout Ken Burn’s “Civil War” is “Ashokon Farewell” by Jay Ungar. The complete soundtrack is available, including the narrative of Sullivan Ballou’s letter to Sarah.

  21. GreenBeret7 March 2nd, 2010 at 10:49 pm

    ***Ashokan*** Farewell

  22. GreenBeret7 March 2nd, 2010 at 10:53 pm

    upstate kate
    March 2nd, 2010 at 10:44 pm
    GB
    I never understood why he got all the blame. It wasn’t even the play that lost the series, it was only game 6.

    ————————————————————

    In a game that late and that important, he shouldn’t have been on the field, regardless of McNamara wanting him there for the celebration. Even had he fielded the ball, I don’t think that he could have beaten Wilson to the bag. He was too deep.

  23. TarheelYank March 2nd, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    Ashokan and Ulster county is a beautiful place. I miss going upstate.

  24. Mike R. - Retire 21 March 2nd, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    Come on Chad. There’s no Jason Hirsh on the Yankees. Who’s Jason Hirsh? It’s probably the buddy sitting next to you. Nice try!

    Sincerely,
    Mike Francesa

  25. Doreen - Bunnies for a Cause March 2nd, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    Thanks, GB7.

    I was just watching “Parenthood” and I”m crying my eyes out.

  26. Erica - always OPPC March 2nd, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    Doreen – Bunnies for a Cause
    March 2nd, 2010 at 11:00 pm
    Thanks, GB7.

    I was just watching “Parenthood” and I”m crying my eyes out.
    *****************

    I am DVRing it. SO behind on my TV viewing. How was it?

  27. Doreen - Bunnies for a Cause March 2nd, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    Erica -

    Uneven, but I like a lot of the actors. I think it’ll need a couple of episodes to get rolling. This was one of those “introductory” episodes where they lay the groundwork, and introduce the characters, relationships and potential story lines. :)

  28. GreenBeret7 March 2nd, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    Doreen – Bunnies for a Cause
    March 2nd, 2010 at 11:00 pm
    Thanks, GB7.

    I was just watching “Parenthood” and I”m crying my eyes out.

    ————————————————————

    I must be missing something, Doreen. I thought “Parenthood” was a comedy. At least it always was for me. I’m sure my parents didn’t laugh that much, though.

    Seriously, is that a movie or tv drama?

  29. Erica - always OPPC March 2nd, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    Doreen – Bunnies for a Cause
    March 2nd, 2010 at 11:08 pm
    Erica -

    Uneven, but I like a lot of the actors. I think it’ll need a couple of episodes to get rolling. This was one of those “introductory” episodes where they lay the groundwork, and introduce the characters, relationships and potential story lines.
    *********************

    Since its a new show it doesn’t have much TV priority. I am not working late tomorrow night and I have other stuff I have to try to get through. Most likely, it’ll get viewed on Saturday

  30. Erica - always OPPC March 2nd, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    GB7-

    Its a new Tv show loosely based on the movie. i think its a comedy with serious tones.

    Anyway, I can’t keep my eyes open. Good night everyone!

  31. sierchio March 2nd, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    Surprised nobody brought this up… MLB video games were released today.. anybody play The Show 10 or 2k10? I picked up The Show and it’s amazing!!

  32. GreenBeret7 March 2nd, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    Erica – always OPPC
    March 2nd, 2010 at 11:16 pm
    GB7-

    Its a new Tv show loosely based on the movie. i think its a comedy with serious tones.

    Anyway, I can’t keep my eyes open. Good night everyone!

    ————————————————————

    Ahhh…ok. I guess my parents thought of parenthood as a drama with comedic overtones. It seems that with 6 kids, that between us, there wasn’t much that we couldn’t think of. I guess they never believed in “kids just being kids”. They got theor wish though. They always said that when we had kids that they’d grow up just like us. I think it was just spite, though.

  33. GreenBeret7 March 2nd, 2010 at 11:25 pm

    sierchio
    March 2nd, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    ————————————————————

    It can’t be much of a surprise when you mention it every hour.

  34. MT. March 2nd, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    Minka Kelly is in the next Parenthood episode…so at least we’re keeping the blog somewhat relevant, lol.

  35. Bo Knows March 3rd, 2010 at 12:13 am

    Hirsh was one of the next big things coming out of school. What a big boost he could be for NYYs if he gets back to that point. I wonder how much pitching in the Colorado thin air played in anything as far as changing his mechanics? If he’s healthy, he could still be a horse at 6 foot 8 inches and about 250 pounds, and, he’s fairly young. He’s just turned 28 in February.

    ————————————
    I’ll be following closely. Didn’t pump iron, did a month of Yoga. I’ll fall down laughing when the next great thing is light weights and core strength. Back to what was 25 years ago. Deja vous all over again.

    Never understood pitchers pumping iron. Lincecum looks like he never saw a weight room.

  36. Pat M. March 3rd, 2010 at 12:39 am

    Back in the old days, we ran sprints, did isometric strength exercises, and core work, sit-ups, sit-ups, leg lifts….Sets of 50 sit-ups all day long it seemed….

  37. KO March 3rd, 2010 at 12:41 am

    1) can you please do 5 questions with someone people actually care about

    2) when Hirsh said he hadn’t been throwing the hook much (I assume this is the term he used), we all know what that is, this is a baseball blog. you didn’t need to fill in (curveball). thanks for clearing that up though.

  38. JMZ March 3rd, 2010 at 1:33 am

    Or, maybe he said, “I just haven’t been throwing it that much,” and Chad was simply clarifying what he meant by “it”.

    In fact, that’s pretty likely, since what Chad put in brackets was two words, “the curveball”. If Hirsh had said “the hook,” Chad likely would have just replaced the latter word, by putting “curveball” alone in brackets — not “the”.

    What I’m saying is, try not to be a jerk. Especially since you’re very likely wrong.

  39. sierchio March 3rd, 2010 at 1:37 am

    KO… I think the whole reason that Chad started these mini-interviews was to interview players that us fans haven’t really heard of.. (and by the way, just because I haven’t really heard of these players, doesn’t mean I don’t “care about” them…) If this was a couple years ago, Chad be asking Joba these questions and you’re reply would be “who actually cares about this kid???”

    Second… GB7.. What do you mean by surprise? I only posted it twice… once on the other thread and once on this one… got no reply’s so I guess nobody cares lol.

  40. Pat M. March 3rd, 2010 at 1:38 am

    So now we’re nitpicking the guy who is sending us up front info ????? What a long winter it’s been considering a World Series Championship banner will be waving above the Stadium this season…….KO, you’ve been TKO’d

  41. sierchio March 3rd, 2010 at 1:39 am

    Hey JMZ… that was good.. you responded to KO’s second jerk statement and I responded to his first. I like that line… “try not to be a jerk. Especially since you’re very likely wrong..” I’m gunna start using that…

  42. GreenBeret7 March 3rd, 2010 at 1:55 am

    KO
    March 3rd, 2010 at 12:41 am
    1) can you please do 5 questions with someone people actually care about

    2) when Hirsh said he hadn’t been throwing the hook much (I assume this is the term he used), we all know what that is, this is a baseball blog. you didn’t need to fill in (curveball). thanks for clearing that up though.

    ————————————————————

    He’s doing these interviews because these are the players that people on this board asked for…the guys in camp that nobody on here knows much about.

  43. Bo Knows March 3rd, 2010 at 2:05 am

    Back in the old days, we ran sprints, did isometric strength exercises, and core work, sit-ups, sit-ups, leg lifts….Sets of 50 sit-ups all day long it seemed….

    —————————————–
    My favorite were finger tip pushups for the wrists.

    Seattle has gone totally light weights all through the system. Wonder if they have discovered something new? Something like defensive baseball last year. This year baseball discovers Yoga.

  44. GreenBeret7 March 3rd, 2010 at 6:23 am

    Selig’s comments on ESPN’s Mike And Mike Show about the ongoing investigation with Canadian doctor, Anthony Galea. Take it any way you want to.

    “Selig also addressed a potential controversy regarding a federal investigation into a Canadian physician who is suspected of violations involving performance enhancing drugs. Several players have already been linked to Anthony Galea, but the investigation is still in a preliminary stage. Selig expressed interest in the case and said that the league will be paying very close attention to it.”

    “We have a department of investigation created years ago at the recommendation of Senator [George] Mitchell,” he said. “We’re very well plugged into this situation. We’ll continue to monitor it closely. I don’t have at this point in time — and I say this with trepidation — I don’t think there is a great deal to be worried about, but we will monitor it very closely.”

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/articl.....8;c_id=mlb

    Looks like much ado about nothing.

  45. upstate kate March 3rd, 2010 at 6:57 am

    GB7
    why are you up so early? go back to bed and get some rest :)

  46. GreenBeret7 March 3rd, 2010 at 7:04 am

    Looks like much ado about nothing.

    upstate kate
    March 3rd, 2010 at 6:57 am
    GB7
    why are you up so early? go back to bed and get some rest

    ————————————————————

    I had a killer headache and a little trouble breathing. Not enough pizza in my system, I guess. How is your morning going? Besides snowing and cold.

  47. upstate kate March 3rd, 2010 at 7:10 am

    Actually it feels rather spring like, despite being 25 degrees. Its sunny and the birds are chirping. It is light now on my drive to work.

  48. MTU March 3rd, 2010 at 7:53 am

    GB-

    Good morning.

    And since you are up so early I though you mind find this interesting. I did not want to start the new thread off with it.

    I am including it verbatim below, and I apologize for the length.

    “Dear Sir:

    I was wondering if you shed any light on a question I have.

    Recently, I was arguing with someone on the influence of “mound
    temperament,” or “perceived emotionality” on pitching performance.

    My POV was that there was no correlation whatsoever between a Starting
    pitcher’s performance and the above, I.e. mound temperament or
    emotionality.

    Have there been any scientific studies that shed any light on this
    relationship ?”

    ____________________________________________________________

    ” Dear Sir,

    After my baseball pitchers learn how to throw the pitches that I
    teach them, their next step is to throw those pitches in pitch sequences
    that are appropriate for each type of baseball batter in games as they
    do in bullpens. When they can do that, I say that they have ‘mound
    presence.’

    I agree that, for baseball pitchers to do this, they have to have
    confidence that they can do it. I suppose that we could call this ‘mound
    temperament’ or ‘perceived emotionality.’

    I suppose that psycho-therapists could interview baseball pitchers
    about their ‘feelings’ and write a report. But, other that quantifying
    the percent strikes that baseball pitchers throw during bullpens versus
    during games, I do not see how researchers can study this phenomenon.”

    Sincerely,

    Dr. Mike Marshall

    I guess the debate will have to rage on. :(

  49. Tim Jones March 7th, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    Jason is an outstanding pitcher, if given the oppurtunity he will be an asset to the Yankee Organization. Jason, keep your head down, stay focus and throw strikes.


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