United States

How Yankees pitching target overcame dreaded Steve Blass disease

The first time Neil McPhee saw Adam Ottavino throw off a mound, the longtime former Northeastern coach offered the senior at Berkeley Carroll High School in Brooklyn a scholarship. So when he watched him pitching in a game for the Rockies during Ottavino’s dreadful 2017 season, McPhee could hardly keep his eyes on the television. “He was bouncing pitches and threw at least two or three behind batters,’’ McPhee said by phone. “He hadn’t just lost command. It was almost like he had that disease.” That “disease” is “Steve Blass disease,’’ named after the Pirates right-hander who famously lost control of his pitches following the 1972 season. Others who have been afflicted with the malady include Rick Ankiel, as w ...