When Joba Chamberlain finished his morning bullpen, Chamberlain walked into the tunnel that leads back to the Yankees clubhouse, and pitching coach Larry Rothschild focused all of his attention on Ivan Nova, the only pitcher still in the bullpen.
Rothschild stood in the batter’s box — not squared up to the plate, but close enough to somewhat resemble a hitter — while bullpen coach Mike Harkey and Triple-A pitching coach Scott Aldred watched near the mound. Organizational pitching guru Billy Connors watched from a bench on the side of the pen.
That’s the point of these early sessions. Most spring training bullpens happen with four or five guys throwing at once. Rothschild said the early sessions are specifically designed so that he spend more one-on-one time with individual pitchers.
“We’re going to filter the guys through,” he said.
Nova’s first spring bullpen was in a group. Today he got the individual attention.
Rothschild said the Yankees will do the same with batting practice after position players report this weekend.
• Chamberlain is already mixing all of his pitches. Considering it’s still the first week of camp, the Yankees seem to have more guys than usual who have already moved past fastballs. I remember Dave Robertson spinning a few curveballs two days ago. Phil Hughes is already mixing all of his pitches. Some of the minor league guys were facing hitters at the minor league complex before big league camp opened.
• Speaking of Hughes, he also did his work early this morning, but he did it after Chamberlain and Nova. I have no idea what Hughes did this morning, but he walked into the clubhouse just before it closed and was drenched in sweat. He clearly did more than a routine bullpen.
• Brett Gardner is not listed in today’s hitting groups. Looks like he won’t be here today. I’m guessing he’ll be back tomorrow when the other position players show up.
• Bullpen assignments:
Dellin Betances (to Jesus Montero)
Pedro Feliciano (to Gustavo Molina)
Dave Robertson (to Russell Martin)
Andy Sisco (to Austin Romine)
Manny Banuelos (to Kyle Higashioka)
Brian Anderson (to Francisco Cervelli)
Andrew Brackman (to Jose Gil)
Romulo Sanchez (to Gustavo Molina)
Daniel Turpen (to Kyle Higashioka)
Steve Garrison (to Jesus Monter0)
D.J. Mitchell (to Austin Romine)
David Phelps (to Roman Rodriguez)
Adam Warren (to Francisco Cervelli)
Eric Wordekemper (to Jose Gil)
• Same hitting groups as usual, except without Gardner
Group 1: Gil, Higashioka, Montero and Romine
Group 2: Martin, Cervelli, Molina and Posada
Associated Press photo of Rothschild and A.J. Burnett after an early morning bullpen earlier this week