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Dave LaRoche is the pitching coach for the New Hamsphire Fisher Cats.  LaRoche pitched in 647 major league games over 14 seasons, mostly in relief.  Younger fans will know LaRoche through his sons, Braves first baseman Andy LaRoche, and Dodgers prospect Adam LaRoche.  Dave shared his thoughts on some of the New Hampshire pitchers with Batters Box ten days ago in New Hampshire.

Jesse Litsch:  He has a nickname, "bulldog", and I can see where he got it, he is very aggressive on the mound and he is very confident in what he is doing.  Whenever a young kid comes up here, especially the young ones, I just say keep doing what you have been doing.  Don't try to be better or finer, or change anything, we'll let the hitters decide what you need to work on.  So far he has been outstanding.  He tries to throw strikes, almost on every pitch, he's real aggressive and he doesn't throw anything straight.  He cuts his four seamer a little bit and his two seamer is pretty good, he throws a change-up and breaking ball. 

Kyle Yates:  When he came up he tried to be different, it's a tougher league and he thought he had to do things different and be a little better.  Just before he got sent down we had a talk and I asked him what did you do different last year?  He talked about how he pitched inside a lot more last year to both left-handers and right-handers, and I said there's nothing wrong with that.  So he started to do it a little more and he went down to Dunedin and worked with Darold Knowles and got it all ironed out, got his check points, got back to where he was the year before and since he has been back he's been very aggressive.  I often compare he and Litsch, both a litle short, stocky, throw strikes and keep the hitters off balance, not pitching defensively, not afraid to throw a strike.  Yates throws the good curve ball, a good four seamer that he spots real well and a two seamer that sinks, a little slider that he throws occassionally.  Yates has to throw his fastball up in the zone more than you would normally like, but that's fine.  He starts his fastball up and in and he starts his curveball on the same plane and he gets a lot of hitters to flinch, thinking it's a fastball and it drops into the strike zone.

Ricky Romero: Ricky is way behind in terms of innings pitched this year.  He was hurt in spring training and he has been rehabbing, it's still like April for him.  He doesn't have many starts under his belt either this year or in pro ball period. He has a very good curve ball and a great change up and now he just needs to get his mechanics cleaned up a little bit.  He needs to relax a little bit, he's trying to strike them out on the first pitch.  He has to learn and when he does he has the mentality, the arm and the confidence to make the adjustments.  Everywhere he goes he is going to have the hype, he just needs to be himself and be as good as he can be.  As long as you're as good as you can be you will be fine.

Kurt Isenberg: The thing that hurts Kurt is that he doesn't have a put-away pitch.  All these guys have curves or changes or sinkers that they can go to in a pinch.  He doesn't have that so he has to be fine and use all his pitches.  SOmetimes I think he uses his fastball too much, he has a very good change, he hasn't used it as much as I would like to see.  He needs to work on his breaking ball everytime out of the pen and hopefully this will work out for him.  Maybe he doesn't need to be a 60% or 70% fastball guy, maybe he needs to be a 40% to 50% fastball guy.

David Purcey:  He got a little back out of whack in AAA.  Maybe he throught he had to do things differently up there.  He was originally scheduled to come here for the first couple of months but he was great in spring training, his delivery was real good, he was making his pitches and he was ready to make the jump.  So now it's back to basics a little bit, what were you doing in spring training, what were you doing last year, just relax and get back to being David Purcey.  I think he is very close to be being back to where he was.

Michael MacDonald:  He has a real good sinker.  He knows how to pitch, he watches the hitters to see what they are doing.  He has a decent breaking ball, he has a little slider.  His change-up was his worst pitch and he has been working hard on it all year so now its better.  It used to be he would take 5 miles per hour off it, now its ten.  His sinker is a quality pitch, like Shaun Marcum or Jamie Vermilyea.  He's been our best pitcher and if you took out his second start where he gave up nine runs in under two innings his numbers would be much better.

Danny Hill:  This will be his third start, when Ramirez got hurt we needed a starter and I suggested starting Danny a couple of times.  Because he has been working on his curve ball and change-up but a lot of times you don't have a chance to throw it a lot coming out of the pen.  When you start you throw 60, 70 pitches and have to use all your pitches.  Now that he is back in the pen he is working on those pitches and its starting to pay off.

Thanks to Dave LaRoche for joining us again this year.  Best wishes for the rest of the season.

An Interview with Dave LaRoche | 1 comments | Create New Account
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iconoclast37 - Wednesday, July 19 2006 @ 09:36 AM EDT (#150933) #

Thanks for the interesting look, not only at the Cats' hurlers, but also into the mind and instructional philosophy of a developmental coach.  LaRoche's comments reveal almost as much of his coaching style as they do about the pitcher he's speaking about.

I absolutely love the organisational interviews; they are the strongest feature of the site.  Keep 'em up, guys!

An Interview with Dave LaRoche | 1 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.