Tom Holliday wants to take care of all of his pitchers, but he understood this spring that he had a responsibility worth millions of dollars.
Carlos Rodon, his junior left-handed pitcher at North Carolina State, was widely expected to be one of the very top picks in the June draft. Even now, with Thursday's draft fast approaching, Rodon remains under consideration by the Houston Astros, who own the top pick overall.
Holliday, NC State's associate head coach and pitching coach, has a unique perspective. He has 35 years of college coaching experience. His brother Dave is a major league scout with the Atlanta Braves, and his son Matt is an All-Star outfielder with the St. Louis Cardinals.
He wanted to give Rodon the best possible chance to become an All-Star himself. That meant helping him develop as a pitcher.
It also meant keeping him healthy.
Holliday came under some criticism this spring for allowing Rodon to throw more than 120 pitches in several starts. Rodon threw 134 pitches in one game against Duke, more pitches than any major league pitcher has thrown in a game so far this season.
Holliday resents the criticism, and also that none of those who expressed it bothered to call him and ask about Rodon's usage. He points out that while professional pitchers normally pitch on four or five days' rest, Rodon almost always had a full week between starts.
Bleacher Report did call Holliday, who outlined Rodon's schedule, which was set up to limit his other throwing and prepare him for heavier work in his once-a-week starts.
Weekly Workout Schedule
Friday: Game day. Rodon normally pitches the first game of each of NC State's weekend series. He made 14 starts this season, going 6-7 with a 2.01 ERA, with 31 walks and 117 strikeouts in 98.2 innings.
Saturday: No throwing at all. Early morning cardio work, with a rubdown.
Sunday: No throwing at all. Another early morning (8 a.m.) cardio session, and a late-afternoon two- or three-mile jog.
Monday: Stretch, run and play catch on flat ground, from 30, 60 and 90 feet. "No spinners, no changeups, just catch—C-A-T-C-H—for 15 minutes, while I ask him how he feels," Holliday said.
Tuesday: Stretch, catch and long toss, 25 throws from about 150 feet.
Wednesday: A 25-pitch bullpen, throwing five of each of his pitches from the windup, then two from the stretch. "And then he's done," Holliday said.
Thursday: Complete day off.
Friday: Game day.