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Yankees' Rivera speaks at Frozen Ropes

February 2, 2009
Author: John Saward
Article Title: Yankees' Rivera to speak in Danbury
Publication Date: January 28, 2009
 Attached File

Yankees' Rivera speaks at Frozen RopesThe Frozen Ropes training center in Danbury has hosted former Major Leaguers Don Mattingly and Howard Johnson, and former New York Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson. On Thursday, it can add arguably the greatest relief pitcher of all-time to the list.

From 4:30 to 6:30 Thursday evening, New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera will join 150 local baseball players for Frozen Ropes' "Healthy Arm Throwing and Pitching Camp."

Between fall ball, travel teams over the summer and the traditional spring leagues, younger players are putting greater stress on their arms. In response, the camp will focus on injury prevention, discussing the importance of stretching and warm-up throwing, as well as maintaining proper arm action.

Rivera is an appropriate candidate to headline such a clinic, having thrown at least 70 innings in each of the last six seasons and in eight of the last nine.

"There's a reason why when we break down and look at literally thousands of pitchers, we chose him to be our pitching model," said Bob Pigozzi, the owner of Danbury's Frozen Ropes. "His delivery is flawless. It's as close to perfect for a pitcher as you can get. His arm action is loose, his acceleration -- he has some of the fastest hip velocity in the major leagues."

Yankees' Rivera speaks at Frozen Ropes

ast year, the first of a three-year extension Rivera signed with the Yankees following the 2007 season, he finished with a career low in WHIP (0.60) and the second lowest ERA of his career (1.40) over 70.7 innings of work.

When Pigozzi asked Rivera if he would like to participate in the clinic, explaining the theme and motivation for it, Rivera agreed.

"When I went to Mariano's house and I said I needed help, that it was important to teach (injury prevention) at a young age, he said I'm in."

The sold-out camp will host players from age eight through high school. Rivera will begin the camp by discussing his technique and routine, and then the players will split up into groups, with Pigozzi, Rivera and his senior instructors each focusing on different aspects. The players will rotate through, and at the end of the event Rivera will answer questions.

"This is for fans and players alike," said Pigozzi. "It's an opportunity to be on the turf with the greatest closer in the history of Major League Baseball. It's exhilarating. (The players) are there as much to see Mariano as they are to throw, and that's the key; when he says something, it sinks in with a lot of coaches and players."