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Friday, October 24, 2008

Nats Name Coaching Staff

This just in:


The Washington Nationals today announced that bench coach Jim Riggleman, first base coach Marquis Grissom, third base coach Pat Listach, hitting coach Rick Eckstein and bullpen coach Randy Knorr will join returning pitching coach Randy St. Claire on the club’s 2009 coaching staff. Nationals Senior Vice President and General Manager Jim Bowden and Manager Manny Acta made the joint announcement.

Riggleman, 55, adds nearly eight seasons of managerial experience to the Nationals’ bench. Riggleman, who has skippered San Diego (1992-94), Chicago-NL (1995-00) and Seattle (interim, 2008), returns to the National League, where he has either managed or served on a coaching staff in 14 of the last 20 seasons. Riggleman’s managerial career is highlighted by the 1998 Cubs, who went 90-73 (.552) to claim the NL Wild Card.


The 41 year-old Grissom accepts his first job coaching at the professional level and returns to the organization that drafted him in the third round of the 1988 First-Year Player Draft. In 17 big league seasons with Montreal (1989-94), Atlanta (1995-96), Cleveland (1997), Milwaukee (1998-2000), Los Angeles-NL (2001-02) and San Francisco (2003-05), Grissom batted .272 (2251-for-8275) with 386 doubles, 227 home runs, 967 RBI and 429 stolen bases and garnered four Gold Glove citations in center field (1993-96).


Listach—who won the 1992 American League Rookie of the Year award after hitting .290 with 54 stolen bases for Milwaukee—joins the Nationals after spending the previous three seasons compiling a 231-189 (.550) record managing in the upper levels of Chicago-NL’s system. In 2008, Listach’s Iowa Cubs went 83-59 (.585), claimed first place in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League’s American Northern Division and he was named PCL Manager of the Year. Listach, 41, managed the Cubs’ Double-A affiliate to winning records in both 2007 (Tennessee of the Southern League) and 2006 (West Tenn of the Southern League) and coached in the Arizona Fall League in 2001.


A September 2008 addition to the Nationals’ coaching staff, Eckstein has established relationships with various Nationals, including Ryan Zimmerman, Lastings Milledge, Elijah Dukes and Cristian Guzman. While serving as Columbus’ hitting coach last season in the Triple-A International League, Eckstein gained invaluable exposure to young hitters such as Jesus Flores, Roger Bernadina, Emilio Bonifacio and Alberto Gonzalez. Eckstein—who served as Davey Johnson’s bench coach during the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing—has coached in the Nationals’ chain four of the last five seasons, and draws on three seasons of experience as a Triple-A hitting coach.


Knorr, 39, returns to Washington in a familiar role, as he served on Frank Robinson’s coaching staff as bullpen coach for the final three-plus months of the 2006 campaign. Knorr is fresh off guiding Potomac to the Single-A Carolina League championship, which came in his fourth season managing in Washington’s chain. During his three-year stint with Potomac, he has managed numerous current Nationals pitchers, including John Lannan, Garrett Mock and Shairon Martis.

BOTTOM(FEEDER) LINE: All in all, it's hard to argue with many of the choices. It's Grissom's first coaching gig, and you suppose in addition to coaching first base he'll work withthe outfielders and base running. Obviously, Jim Riggleman brings a wealth of experience to the bench for Manager Manny Acta. Listach has had much success managing in the Cubs minor league system. Randy Knorr is solid as the bullpen coach, and his success at Potomac last year certainly won't hurt his credentials. And the organization loves Rick Eckstein, and he also served as Davey Johnson's bench coach for the Olympic team last summer. Hard to argue with Davey Johnson.

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