SAN DIEGO – This season’s Padres have been plagued by injuries. In fact, with so many pitchers on baseball’s injured list, the club’s bullpen is on track to throw the most innings in a single season in MLB history.
But despite it all, the team elected this week to fire pitching coach Larry Rothschild, a longtime baseball veteran who spent the past two seasons in San Diego.
“It feels like we’re partly responsible for him losing his job,” Padres right-hander Joe Musgrove said.
Southpaw Blake Snell has struggled at times in his first year in San Diego. He’s posted a 4.84 ERA in 23 starts for the Friars, the highest earned run average he’s recorded in his big league career.
Snell said losing Rothschild “sucks” and that “I really enjoyed him and I felt like I was growing a lot with him.”
With fewer than 40 games left in the year, the Padres elevated bullpen coach Ben Fritz to take over for Rothschild in an interim capacity. Fritz has spent seven years in the Padres organization and only two with the bullpen. He’s been tasked with finding a solution for a rotation that has the fourth-highest combined ERA in the month of August.
He said Monday was “kind of a whirlwind of a day.”
“Mixed emotions,” Fritz said. “Super excited and honored to be where I’m at. Really blessed.”
Given how the team’s rotation has performed of late, Fritz said the team has to “go out and find a way to win.” He also learned plenty from Rothschild in working together and wants to build off of some of that.
“The game is so slow for him,” he said. “He’s been around so many games. He’s witnessed everything in this game. Our conversations, his willingness to be open, it’s been awesome for him to give me the time to teach me what he knew.”
Fritz only will serve as the interim coach for the remainder of the season.
He mentioned he’s only concerned about winning as much as possible over the next 36 games and that he’ll “worry about the rest later.”