When it comes to pitching effectively, Brian Bruney and his control problems don’t warrant much sympathy from Yankee fans. But that’s not stopping Bruney from trying to play his cards anyway.
In a Mark Feinsand-penned profile, Bruney talks about pitching in Spring Training to earn a spot on the team. In the piece, he is judiciously critical of the former Yankee regime:
Bruney credits his offseason conditioning program – daily workouts, no alcohol, a strict diet and plenty of sleep – with improving his outlook, but he also believes the changes on the Yankees’ coaching staff – particularly Dave Eiland taking over as pitching coach for Ron Guidry – have helped him focus on the task at hand rather than worrying constantly about the consequences of a bad outing.
“I formed a relationship with Dave where he’s easy to talk to,” Bruney said. “In the past, I might not have had that relationship; I didn’t talk to Gator.”
Bruney also admitted to a level of fear in playing for Joe Torre, who was constantly criticized in recent years for overusing certain relievers.
“With Torre – and I’m not trying to bad-mouth anybody – sometimes you would go out there and try to be so good because you were scared of doing bad,” Bruney said. “You can’t pitch like that. (Joe) Girardi understands that you make mistakes – and I’m going to make them.”
Bruney’s comments aren’t out of line. We’re leaving that job up to Theo Epstein. But they do provide an interesting glimpse behind the closed doors of the Joe Torre regime.
We knew that Torre relied on certain relievers more than others. But did anything that Torre say or do cause other relievers to try too hard? That’s what Bruney claims. But then again, he might just be making excuses for his 37:39 BB:K ratio.
If Bruney can pitch well and pitch effectively, he’ll earn a spot on this team. He’s shown flashes of what he can do with his stuff. Maybe a changing of the guard will do him well or maybe he’s just laying the blame for his shortcomings on someone else. Time will tell.