RN: Vern Ruhle. The pitching seemed to improve after they let Don Gullett go last year, why?
CW: I donít know if that was coincidence or not.
A lot of people have gotten on Don Gullett over the years as a bad pitching coach, but Jack McKeon had painted him as a terrific pitching coach, maybe one of the best ever. I think heís probably somewhere in between.
I donít think the pitching coach has all that much to do with it.
From my experience up to the major leagues, the pitching coach in the big league level doesnít instruct. He doesnít teach very much because guys arenít willing to be instructed or be taught. Theyíve gotten here with their certain stuff and theyíre going to stay with their certain stuff and theyíre going to either make it or break it that way.
Don Gullett was given project after project. And some guys stuck to the wall and some guys didnít.
I think it was more or less a coincidence that the pitching improved. I think guys got healthy.
Iím not saying Vern Ruhleís not a good pitching coach, I donít think a pitching coach, you fire one, bring another one in the next week and all of a sudden the pitching improves? Itís not because of the pitching coach is doing anything different. These guys are still throwing the way they want to throw.
RN: Any current word on how heís doing in his cancer treatments?
CW: Heís in the hospital currently in Houston, taking cancer treatments for a very serious form of cancer. Iíve not heard in the last week or so how heís doing, but we hope to get an update when we get to Houston.
RN: Tommy Hume has been acting pitching coach. He seems like heís done a nice job.
CW: Iíve always thought Tommy would be a great pitching coach.
Because your pitching coach is very small part instructor. Youíre a big part, big brother. And youíre another part Ė father figure. And you have to be somewhat of a game strategist and have the ear of the manager from a ďwho to bring in whenĒ standpoint.
He can be their friend, heís pitched in the big leagues, he was an All Star, he knows that itís more mental than anything else and he just tries to keep these guys relaxed. Heís a very calming influence and I think thatís very helpful.