Dontrelle Willis looks so-so even against Royals

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Last week when Dontrelle Willis held the Royals to two runs over six innings in his first start of the season I warned against reading too much into one decent outing against a poor lineup and unfortunately it didn’t take long to see why.
Facing the Royals a second time Tuesday afternoon, Willis narrowly escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the first inning only to allow four runs in the next four frames.
The good news is that Willis has yet to implode by completely losing the strike zone like he did so often during the past two seasons. The bad news is that he’s allowed a poor Royals lineup stacked with left-handed hitters to bat .348 against him, managing just seven strikeouts compared to five walks in 11 innings.
He’s made huge strides relative to 2008/2009, but the matchups will get tougher and he just doesn’t look very good so far. And remember, Willis was last healthy and good way back in 2006.

Yankees to hire Josh Bard as their new bench coach

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Aaron Boone has no experience as a coach or a manager at any level. As such, some have speculated that he’d hire a more seasoned hand as his bench coach as he begins his first season as Yankees manager. Someone like, say, Eric Wedge, who was a candidate for the job Boone got and who once managed Boone in Cleveland.

Nope. According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, he’s going with Josh Bard.

Bard, 39, was a teammate of Boone’s with the Indians in 2005. He’s not without coaching experience, having spent the last two seasons as the Dodgers’ bullpen coach, but he’s not that Gene Lamont/Don Zimmer-type we often see in the bench coach role.

Which is fine because different managers want different things from their bench coach. Some are strategy guys, helping with in-game decision making. Others are relationship guys who help managers understand all of the dynamics of the clubhouse while they’re worrying more about lineups and stuff. Others are trust guys, who can serve as the manager’s sounding board, among other things. Some are combinations of all of these things. As Feinsand notes in his story, Boone said at his introductory press conference that he’s looking for this:

“I want smart sitting next to me. I want confidence sitting next to me. I want a guy who can walk out into that room and as I talk about relationships I expect to have with my players, I expect that even to be more so with my coaching staff. Whether that is a guy with all kinds of experience or little experience. I am not concerned about that.”