Royals hire Eiland to be pitching coach

Royals hire Eiland to be pitching coach

Royals hire Eiland to be pitching coach
KANSAS CITY -- Royals manager Ned Yost had something specific in mind when he launched the search for a new pitching coach at season's end.

"I'm looking for a guy that pitched in the big leagues for a long time with mediocre stuff," Yost said, noting that those type of pitchers have to work unusually hard to survive.

Dave Eiland, appointed the Royals' pitching coach on Tuesday, believes he fits that profile.

"Except for the 'mediocre' stuff," Eiland said. "My stuff was probably a little south of mediocre. But, yeah, I had to work really hard every day, year-in and year-out, just to stick around and have the success I did have."

Eiland pitched parts of 10 seasons in the Major Leagues, long enough to work his right arm in 92 games (12-27, 5.74 ERA). There was a lot more time spent in the Minors -- 248 games, mostly as a starter in Triple-A.

Drafted by the Yankees in 1987, he broke into the Majors with them in '88 and eventually became their pitching coach at the big league level in 2008-10. He also pitched for the Padres and Rays, and coached in the Yankees' Minor League system. Last year, he was an assistant to Tampa Bay's executive vice president of baseball operations, Andrew Friedman.

Eiland, 45, replaces Bob McClure as the pitching coach and completes the Royals' staff. Earlier, Chino Cadahia was appointed bench coach to succeed John Gibbons, who was dismissed along with McClure at the end of the season.

"The time I spent in New York has made me better, no doubt about it," Eiland said. "I was drafted by the Yankees and came up through their system and broke into the big leagues with the Yankees, and did the same thing as a coach there. My experiences in New York are only going to make me better being a Kansas City Royal."

As Yankees coach, he presided over the 2009 pitching staff that helped win the World Series. That year included 103 regular season victories and 1,260 strikeouts by New York pitchers, second most in franchise history.

Royals pitchers last season had high numbers, too, but many in the wrong direction. They ranked third-last in the American League with a 4.44 ERA, and hits given up with 1,487, in a 71-91 season. They were the AL's worst in doling out bases on balls, with 557.

Attacking the walks problem will be a priority.

"It's an individual case -- every guy is different," Eiland said. "The first question that comes to mind: Is there something going on in their delivery? Are they out of sync? Is their timing not right? Are they not repeating their delivery? Are they not staying in their arm slot consistently? Things like that. You attack the physical part of it first; then, if you can't find any flaws, it becomes a mental thing and you have to go that route and try to get in a guy's head a little bit."

Eiland spent a day at Yost's farm in Georgia a couple of weeks ago and they hit it off.

"I was real impressed by his knowledge of mechanics, he's real apt at formulating game plans, got a great work ethic, totally prepared," Yost said. "We talked to a lot of pitchers who have been under him as a pitching coach and they all raved about him and how he was prepared, focused, his ability to help them mechanically and how he had a game plan for them every single day."

General manager Dayton Moore made the announcement of Eiland's hiring to take advantage of an open date in the World Series. He had Eiland come to Kansas City for a visit with the Royals' staff recently.

"He's well spoken, a pretty articulate guy," Moore said. "He's got a plan, he's got a vision and he's going to run the pitching -- there's not going to be any doubt who's going to run the pitching. Ned ultimately makes the calls, but this guy's got a plan. He's going to be good."

Eiland told Moore and Yost that, after formulating the Yankees game plans against the Royals for three years, he knew their hitters better than their pitchers. But that will change as he begins to study video on Wednesday. He has an overall impression, however.

"They have some great young power arms there. Their bullpen is very exciting with a good mix and, of course, [Joakim] Soria at the back end," he said.

Eiland was dismissed by the Yankees after 2010, a season in which he took a 25-day personal leave of absence.

"It was some personal family matters that I had to attend to. If it was something that happened in the offseason nobody would've known anything about it, but it was something that I needed to take care of. I came home, got everything where it needed to be and moved on," he said.

"All is well and I couldn't be happier from a personal or professional standpoint. Like I told Ned yesterday, 'I wish Spring Training was starting tomorrow.' "

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.