Rothschild was tucked in a video room at Yankee Stadium for about eight hours on Tuesday, with part of his assignment to dissect videotape of right-hander A.J. Burnett and find delivery flaws and possible fixes.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and manager Joe Girardi liked the answers that they heard, and the 56-year-old Rothschild was installed as the team's new pitching coach on Friday, agreeing to a three-year contract.
"I do a lot of video work during the season, so it was nothing new," said Rothschild, who leaves the Cubs after spending nine seasons as their pitching coach. "As far as an interview process, it was something that I've never thought of, never seen and never heard of."
The unorthodox hurdles were created after starting pitching torpedoed the Yankees' hopes down the stretch, as the staff faltered in the American League Championship Series against the Rangers. Dave Eiland was dismissed as pitching coach after the season for what Cashman said were unrelated personal reasons.
That created the opportunity Rothschild had been waiting for, having told Cubs general manager Jim Hendry that he would like to work closer to his Tampa, Fla., home.
Rothschild had been expected to return to Chicago in 2011 as part of manager Mike Quade's staff, but was permitted to interview for the Yankees position, noting the proximity of the club's Spring Training complex as well as several trips each year to play the Rays at Tropicana Field.
"He's a championship pitching coach, and I'm excited to add Larry's abilities to our staff," Girardi said. "He is above all else an excellent teacher, who brings a professional attitude and a keen sense of preparation to his craft. I'm very much looking forward to working with him moving forward."
Rothschild has earned a reputation for communicating well with pitchers, and one of his priorities will be to tackle the issues that hurt Burnett this year. The right-hander was 10-15 with a 5.26 ERA, setting career highs in losses, runs allowed, earned runs, ERA and hit batsmen.
"As far as A.J. is concerned, I know that he's a huge part of the pitching staff, and it would be nice to get things turned around for him and get him going," Rothschild said. "I'm sure that he feels that way. I think he can be a very effective Major League pitcher. I think that he has been in his career."
While Rothschild said he couldn't yet go into specifics about Burnett's fixes, he was also asked to go over clips of CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes. The Yankees also wanted him to break down sequences with six batters, using video scouting, statistics and matchups.
"One thing is, they have to be able to repeat deliveries," Rothschild said. "It's something that I harp on a lot. If you can repeat a delivery, you should be able to control the ball."
The Yankees interviewed several other candidates for the position, including bullpen coach Mike Harkey, Triple-A pitching coach Scott Aldred and Athletics pitching coordinator Gil Patterson. Girardi and Rothschild know each other from their days together in Chicago; Girardi was a catcher on Rothschild's first Cubs team in 2002.
"We were comfortable together talking about hitters," Rothschild said. "He was a veteran at that time, and to a pitching coach, he was very helpful."
Rothschild's Major League pitching experience was limited to seven games with the Tigers in 1981 and '82, but he has served on the coaching staffs of two World Series champions: the 1990 Reds and the '97 Marlins.
He left the Marlins after that title season to become the first manager in Rays history, a position he held into 2001.
"Larry will be a welcome addition to our pitching staff," Cashman said. "He comes with an impressive resume as a former Major League manager and a World [Series] champion pitching coach. He has a great reputation with his players, who know they can trust him and rely on him to put them in a position to succeed."
Rothschild said that he planned to spend his first evening as a Yankees pitching coach reaching out to the team's hurlers, inviting them to set dates for workouts at the team's complex in Tampa. Rothschild said he intends to spend plenty of time on those back fields, embracing the new opportunity.
"It's unique because it's the Yankees, and everyone knows what that means," Rothschild said. "It doesn't come along every day. It makes you think long and hard about it. It's a situation that's hard to pass by."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less