Nice piece by Mark Feinsand in today's Daily News about Mussina mentoring the big three. I'm honestly pleasantly surprised. I've gotten the impression (as has the rest of the world) that Mussina is a tad self-involved.
Eiland has seen the pitchers since they broke into the league. He probably has a better working knowledge of their stuff than anybody in the organization, one of the biggest reasons he was trusted with his new job as pitching coach.
"Phil and Ian are a lot alike; they think things through. Joba just doesn't give a damn," Eiland said. "He'll throw one over your head and then throw a slider down and away. Joba shows his emotions more than the others do. He likes to put on a show."
While the trio certainly spends a lot of time together, they have leaned on Mussina and Pettitte for guidance.
"I think they push each other, I think they push us, and I think we push them," Mussina said. "They're competing with each other, they're pushing us to not be less than we're capable of and we're not letting them go through the motions."
"Pettitte and Moose are encouraging in a big-brother type way, while we encourage each other by making fun of each other and getting on each other," Hughes said. "Obviously, we're all pulling for each other. If I went up to Pettitte or Moose and talked to them the same way I talk to Ian, it wouldn't go over so well."
When Mussina arrived at camp, he found Kennedy located in the locker next to him. He had Hughes moved into their corner two days later, giving both young starters an opportunity to pick his brain about pitching, life in the majors and whatever else might come up along the way.
"My dad is only 45, and Moose is almost there," Kennedy said with a chuckle. "He's like a really older brother. With him and Andy, even though they're veterans, they act like they're our age. It works both ways; we get to mature a little faster and they get to be a little more immature. It's a good mix."
Musssina, 39, said he feels younger as a result of his interaction with Hughes and Kennedy, but there are times when the age difference becomes too apparent.
"When I came up in 1991, they were in kindergarten," Mussina said. "I'm glad that I'm still sitting here with them."
But somewhere down the line - maybe as soon as next year - Mussina and Pettitte will be gone, leaving the responsibility of carrying the torch to the Big Three.
"This is a long process; it's not what you do today, it's what you do this year, the next five years or the next 10 years," Mussina said. "The first thing that helps them is that there's three of them. It's not one guy expected to be the savior. That's a big deal."