Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: AdamKilgoreWP and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  E-mail alerts: Sports and Redskins  |  RSS

Returning (As A Starter, As A Bench Coach)

Six times now Garrett Mock has been up and down, swinging between the minors and the big leagues like a pendulum. Twice he joined the Nationals last year for spot starts, returning to Class AAA after both games. He became a reliever. He joined the big leagues again. This year he was up on April 20, pitched 13 games out of the bullpen, and was demoted on May 20.

Today, Mock returned to the Washington Nationals, and no longer did circumstances feel so undecided. Sure, he has no guarantee of a prolonged stint -- "I would like to stay one day," Mock said -- but he'll be given every opportunity. More important is this: Mock is now a starting pitcher, no questions asked.

Though Mock was drafted as a starter and ascended through the minors as a starter, he was converted last year to the bullpen, at the behest of then-pitching coach Randy St. Claire. Not everybody in the organization, though, shared St. Claire's opinion on Mock. Acting general manager Mike Rizzo, who drafted Mock while with the Diamondbacks, preferred Mock as a starter.

"A lot of it had to do with Randy," Rizzo said. "Randy St. Claire liked him as a reliever. For him to grow and develop, we developed him in the big leagues as a reliever. But we always thought -- us in the front office -- thought his niche was as a starter."

At the beginning of June, not long after Mock was back with Class AAA Syracuse, Washington fired St. Claire. And Mock started pitching in the Chiefs' rotation. The 26-year-old responded with the most dominant stretch of his career, going 5-1 with a 1.52 ERA in eight starts. In his final 35 innings, he allowed just two earned runs, walking three and striking out 28. When Washington demoted Ross Detwiler, it needed another starter. The decision about his replacement, Rizzo said, "was pretty clear-cut."

"All I did," Mock said, "I just went after hitters... This time, I'm a little more comfortable in my own skin, just trusting what I have."

Mock is now Washington's No. 4 starter, and will take the mound Sunday.

*

The same guy who Jim Riggleman replaced as bench coach is now replacing Jim Riggleman. Fired as bench coach at the end of last season, Pat Corrales remained with the organization, guiding the catchers in spring training and, during the most recent months, hopping between minor league affiliates to compile reports on the organization's prospects. Officially, Corrales's title was "special assistant to the general manager." He reported to baseball ops director Brian Parker, and spent about 75-percent of his time on the road.

"Starting today," Corrales said, "I was actually supposed to be in Hagerstown. Six days there. Then six days in Harrisburg, then six days in Potomac. I'll tell you what -- I finally learned how to drive your freeway system around here."

But of course all the driving came at a cost. For the first time since 1981, Corrales was not in a major league uniform. He missed it. When the Nats fired Manny Acta during the all-star break, Corrales was invited back as bench coach. So here he was today, back in his familiar No. 39 uniform, sitting in the home dugout a good three hours before the first pitch. He gripped a bat between his hands, and stared out toward an otherwise empty field.

"I'm nervous," he said. "I didn't sleep real well last night. I don't think the excitement ever goes away."

*

Chicago's lineup, omitted earlier

Johnson - 8
Theriot - 6
Bradley - 9
Lee - 3
Ramirez - 5
Soriano - 7
Baker - 4
Hill - 2
Harden - 1

By Chico Harlan  |  July 16, 2009; 6:30 PM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Tonight's Lineup
Next: Olsen Scratched From Tomorrow's Start

Comments

Really, 506? I would think that he would want to play. And I have to think that he wants to hit. Kearns doesn't seem the disgruntled type - I think if they sat him down and said we went you to go to Syracuse for a couple of weeks to work on your swing - he would go. But maybe not.
__________________________________
The concern is not that Kearns would not make it through waivers, I've got to believe, since SOMETHING would have to be traded for him if he was claimed. The concern is that he would refuse his assignment and be a free agent, with the money he is owed for the rest of this year.

I would, wouldn't you?

Posted by: lowcountry | July 16, 2009 6:53 PM | Report abuse

A small thing, but I'm a little dissapointed that the rotation out of the All-Star break isn't Lannan, Mock, Olsen, JZimm, Stammen.

Posted by: BinM | July 16, 2009 6:56 PM | Report abuse

@lowcountry

PloD refused assignment last year, and was immediately signed by someone else. The Nationals got jack-all for him. The concern is that Kearns will go the same route.

Posted by: swang30 | July 16, 2009 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Cool News....Mark Z just confirmed that Nats will now take infield everyday. If they do it right and do it everyday this will make a huge difference. It will re-enforce that defense if key and worth the time. It will tune them to expect perfection in the field. That is what this drill has always brought to the game. Well Done Riggs!

Posted by: JayBeee | July 16, 2009 7:13 PM | Report abuse

I understand the argument, swang. But it is premised on the idea that Kearns doesn't think that he is struggling. Barring an injury that needs immediate replacement, which club is going to sign him and not send him to AAA?
___________________________
PloD refused assignment last year, and was immediately signed by someone else. The Nationals got jack-all for him. The concern is that Kearns will go the same route.

Posted by: swang30 | July 16, 2009 7:08 PM

Posted by: lowcountry | July 16, 2009 7:16 PM | Report abuse

He won't sign a minor league deal. He'll sign a major league deal and refuse to report if they assign him to the AAA club. It's his right as a veteran.

Posted by: swang30 | July 16, 2009 7:21 PM | Report abuse

"But it is premised on the idea that Kearns doesn't think that he is struggling"

I think it's premised on a business decision Kearns would have to make. LoDuca is a great example I think. You insist on walking as a free agent, get your money, then sign a cheap deal somewhere else that gets you playing time.

Posted by: Section506 | July 16, 2009 7:28 PM | Report abuse

But he could still make $8 million if he went to Syracuse.

Posted by: lowcountry | July 16, 2009 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Ryan Zimmerman = Face of the Franchise.

In every conceivable way!

Posted by: soundbloke | July 16, 2009 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Meet the new Nats, same as the old Nats. Unforced error = unearned run.

Posted by: SackMan | July 16, 2009 7:42 PM | Report abuse

@low: It's a circular argument - At this point in the season, Kearns is going to get the $8M, regardless. If the Nationals tried to assign or option Kearns to AAA, I think he can refuse & become a free agent (5-yr. man). If they waive him & he's claimed by another team, they either have 72 hours to make a deal, or he becomes a free agent. If they waive him and no other claims him, he's gone (again, a free agent).

Posted by: BinM | July 16, 2009 7:47 PM | Report abuse

yea, that's how we're still paying wily mo pena's $2M salary.

Posted by: NatsNut | July 16, 2009 7:49 PM | Report abuse

moment of truth boys. you had a man on 3rd with one out. sigh.

Posted by: NatsNut | July 16, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse

I'd rather pay WMP 2million to sit at home that wander around left field thank you very much.

Posted by: soundbloke | July 16, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse

LOL! good point soundbloke.

Posted by: NatsNut | July 16, 2009 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for being obstinate. Obviously, I think he should go down to Syracuse. I just don't see anyone signing him to anything but a minor league contract for next year.

If it were me, I would be willing to try most anything to salvage something from this year. And I just don't see him getting regular ABs for us. Of course, I was a lifetime .186 hitter so maybe I'm just overly sympathetic.

Anyway, thanks to everyone for indulging my speculation.

Posted by: lowcountry | July 16, 2009 7:56 PM | Report abuse

now THAT was some beautiful redemption.

Posted by: NatsNut | July 16, 2009 8:03 PM | Report abuse

@low: It's all good. It's just that Kearns "market value" isn't much more than a bag of BP balls, and either a fungo bat or a ham sandwich on white bread right now.

Posted by: BinM | July 16, 2009 8:08 PM | Report abuse

If Mock does well enough ... and there are other starters down in Syrcuse and Harrisburg ... it almost makes Strasberg redundant. At least if he signs he will have plenty of competition.

Posted by: periculum | July 16, 2009 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Strasburg is potentially an ace. There is not a single prospect of that caliber anywhere in our organisation.

Posted by: soundbloke | July 16, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

So, for all our ranting Guzman has been on fire on his defense.

Granted there was not a lot of range required but still. Good him!

Posted by: soundbloke | July 16, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

"...or a ham sandwich on white bread right now. "

My favorite!

low, it's not that I don't want him to do that or don't think he needs to do that, it's just that I think it would be a bad business decision on his part to not even try to stay in the majors.

Posted by: Section506 | July 16, 2009 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Nyjer! good to see that speed in a Nats uniform.

Posted by: Naugatuck-Nats | July 16, 2009 8:36 PM | Report abuse

"Strasburg is potentially an ace. There is not a single prospect of that caliber anywhere in our organisation.

Posted by: soundbloke | July 16, 2009"

Lannan, Mock, and Detwiler.

Looks like Desmond got promoted to Syracuse. Didn't see that on the farm report. One possible future shortstop is 1 for 2 so far.

Posted by: periculum | July 16, 2009 8:36 PM | Report abuse

beep, beep new post.

Posted by: periculum | July 16, 2009 8:45 PM | Report abuse

I am still bothered by Zimm and his strikeouts along with his errors. Has he turned into nothing but a prima dona? Why should he still be batting number three? I would try Willingham or Alberto in that spot. They do not strike out as much and do not hit in dps as much Next time Ryan Z comes to the plate, watch his head. I do not think he is following the ball. And why does he take 99% of the first pitches? Is this because someone is giving the take sign? If so, get rid of the sign giver. Dunn! He is what he is. That is, he thinks every pitch should hit his bat and not that he should make his bat hit the ball.

Posted by: crimsonmac | July 17, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company