Minor League News: Contreras, Norton, Henson

(Rick Stewart/Getty)
Drew Henson is back with the Yankees. (Rick Stewart/Getty)

Got a handful of minor league updates for you, mostly coaching stuff. Everything comes from Josh Norris.

  • Nardi Contreras is now a senior pitching instructor. We heard he was reassigned and replaced by Gil Patterson back in November. Going from minor league pitching coordinator to senior pitching instructor sounds like a promotion, no? Who knows.
  • Tim Norton and Drew Henson will serve as the pitching and hitting coaches, respectively, for the club’s new second Rookie Level Gulf Coast League affiliate. Norton, a former righty reliever, started to make the transition to coaching last year due to continued arm problems. Henson re-joined the organization as a part-time assistant last fall with his eye on becoming a full-time coach this year.
  • Remember RHP J.B. Cox and 3B Bradley Suttle? Well, both guys are listed in the Yankees’ 2013 media guide as players. Norris confirmed they are both still on the restricted list however, meaning they are unlikely to resume their playing career. False alarm. Cox never regained his stuff following Tommy John surgery while Suttle was hampered by multiple injuries, most notably right shoulder surgery. The former left the organization following 2010, the latter last spring.
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Yankees reassign Nardi Contreras, hire Gil Patterson as minor league pitching coordinator

Via the NY Post: The Yankees have reassigned minor league pitching coordinator Nardi Contreras and replaced him with Gil Patterson. Patterson has held the same role with the Athletics since 2008 and he’s had a number of coaching stints in the New York system dating back to the mid-80s. The Yankees interviewed Patterson for their pitching coach job before hiring Larry Rothschild in 2010. Contreras had been the club’s minor league pitching coordinator since 2005.

Between this move and the recent Billy Connors firing, it seems pretty obvious that the Yankees are not happy with how their minor league pitchers are developing, and they shouldn’t be. The only starting pitcher to really reach his ceiling under their watch in the last 10-15 years was Chien-Ming Wang. We all focus on the draft and international signings and all that, but acquiring talented amateur players means little if you can’t develop them properly. The Yankees have really struggled with their young pitchers in recent years, so change was in order.

Link dump: catching depth, Nardi and Markie, former Yankees, AJ

Marc Hulet of Fangraphs took a look at the catching depth in the minors for two teams, the Yankees and Blue Jays. The conclusion? Toronto has a slight advantage over the Bombers with “solid prospects at five different levels,” whereas the Yankees, according to Hulet, have three. Definitely worth a read.

Trenton Thunder beat writer Mike Ashmore spoke with Mark Newman for a few minutes. Any large decision taking place with Yankee affiliates goes through Newman, who serves as the team’s Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations. Mark discusses the possibility of moving 3B prospect Brandon Laird around the diamond a bit to create “positional flexibility,” and also talks about what he’s seen with Dellin Betances, Andrew Brackman and a few other topics. A must-read.

It’s looking like a good day for Mashmore. He’s got another excellent link to check out. Mike this time sat down with Yankee pitching guru Nardi Contreras. Contreras discusses the mechanics of Brackman, the progress of George Kontos, Noesi and pitch counts, Venditte’s “novelty act,” and where Contreras would like to see Dellin and Graham Stoneburner finish out the season.

Steve S. at TYU has been keeping up with how former Yankees have been doing. Aroyds Vizcaino has done well enough to earn a promotion to Hi-A, though he’s struggled in his first get go. Take a look at that list and remember what some had been saying about keeping certain players. Not all the off-season moves have panned out, but some of the other options haven’t lit up the sky, either.

The Yankees have no plans to skip AJ in the rotation as they did when Javier Vazquez struggled, LoHud’s Chad Jennings is reporting. “I don’t think he’s necessarily going to benefit from it right now,” Girardi said.