Larry Rothschild New York Yankees
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Pitching coach Larry Rothschild is not against using unconventional methods to push the New York Yankees rotation through 2019.

Aaron Case

The 2019 season will be New York Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild’s audition for the circus. Keeping the Bombers’ fragile starting rotation healthy will be akin to a juggling act with raw eggs.

Rothschild told the New York Post’s Greg Joyce that he’s even willing to use six starters if necessary.

“At times, yeah, I’m not opposed to (using a six-man rotation),” he told Joyce. However, he did hedge the statement:

“But if it’s leading guys into seven and eight days (between starts), I think it becomes somewhat problematic, although not for everybody. I think it depends on the schedule and where guys are as far as innings and how they’ve progressed, whether they’re at a point in the season where they might be tired or they might need a break just to recover a little bit more. We’ll have to see.”

The Yankees current starting five includes notoriously injury-prone James Paxton. Then there’s Masahiro Tanaka, whose partially torn UCL is one pitch away from needing surgery.

CC Sabathia is 38-years-old with a bad knee and a fresh stent in his heart. J.A. Happ is no spring chicken either, at 36 years of age.

New York Yankees

Young Luis Severino is the most durable guy on the staff. He could be due for some injured-list time, though.

If the Yankees do want to go with six starters at some point in the season, they have multiple options.

They can use prospects Jonathan Loaisiga, Domingo German or whoever else blows them away in spring; or, they can dip into the stagnant MLB free-agent pool for someone like Gio Gonzalez.

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Another unconventional idea for maintaining the rotation’s health is opening some games with a reliever.

Although Rothschild said nothing about using the trendy opener strategy, the thought must be crossing his and Aaron Boone’s minds. After all, their bullpen is almost too stacked. Deploying an opener could be the best way to maximize the pen’s value.

Pitchers and catchers report on Wednesday. Rothschild and company can really start scheming then.

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