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November 5, 2005

Guidry becomes Yankees' pitching coach
by SG

From Yahoo:

NEW YORK (AP) -- When the New York Yankees' new pitching coach goes out to the bullpen next year, he'll be able to look at his own plaque in Monument Park.

Ron Guidry rejoined the Yankees as Joe Torre's pitching coach on Friday, when former Boston manager Joe Kerrigan also joined the staff as bullpen coach.

``Joe spoke to me about it the last couple of years, if I would ever entertain it,'' Guidry said, ``and I spoke to my family about it and they were saying, `Maybe you should go give it a shot before you get too old.' ``

The 55-year-old left-hander was a three-time 20-game winner who played for the Yankees from 1975-88 and won the 1978 AL Cy Young Award. He has been a spring training instructor for the team since 1990, and his number (49) was retired by the Yankees in 2003. His plaque, which refers to him as ``Gator'' and Louisiana Lightning,'' calls him ``a dominating pitcher,'' ``a respected leader'' and ``a true Yankee.''

He said the best pitching coach he worked under was Art Fowler, Billy Martin's buddy.

``He kept saying, `If you can't throw the ball over the plate, Ron, you can't pitch here in the big leagues,' `` Guidry recalled, remembering Fowler's mound visits vividly.

``Every time he'd come out there, I'd say, `Art what am I doing wrong?' and he'd always tell me, `I don't know, Ron, but you're (getting) Billy (angry).'

``It always lifted me up -- even when you're in a tight situation, that there's room for humor. That's how he always got my mind to reflect on what's going on, what I need to do.''

A four-time All-Star, Guidry said outgoing pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre spoke with him during spring training about becoming pitching coach someday. Guidry said he thought recognizing pitcher's mechanical problems was a strength and admitted the game has changed since he retired.

``You rely on a lot of computerized stats to tell you what guys are doing, what they're not doing,'' Guidry said. ``We didn't have that, so it's going to just be another step just to learn how to do all of that and put all of that together.''

Guidry went to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, also attended by free-agent reliever B.J. Ryan.

``He'd be a great addition to the pitching staff here,'' Guidry said, adding that he would offer Ryan ``a couple of bowls of gumbo.''

Kerrigan was the Red Sox pitching coach from 1997 until he became manager in August 2001, a job that lasted until the following March. He was hired by the Yankees in July as a special adviser to general manager Brian Cashman, and scouted video of upcoming opponents to prepare reports.

Kerrigan is happy to be getting back in uniform.

``I like being a grunt,'' he said. ``It's like going to a playground or a park, and it's an extension of your childhood.''

Kerrigan became the fourth former major league manager added this week to Torre's staff, following third base coach Larry Bowa, bench coach Lee Mazzilli and first base coach Tony Pena. The only holdover from last season is hitting coach Don Mattingly, Guidry's former teammate.

Good stuff in here. One of the things that Mel Stottlemyre was often criticized about was inability to fix broken-down mechanics. I would guess that Guidry will be a big help to Randy Johnson, since he had a similar fastball/slider style from the left side, minus 16 inches or so. I also think having Kerrigan on the staff will help Guidry immeasurably, and as a new guy he appears willing to listen.

The Ryan quote gives hope that the Yankees can lure what they are even acknowledging as their number one target.