Nats’ Eckstein remains silent with media
Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo has instructed hitting coach Rick Eckstein not to talk to the media.
In the last week, members of the Washington media have attempted to talk to Eckstein about the team’s problems at the plate, but they have been turned down. Entering Friday’s action, the team is hitting .229, which ranks 29th in the Major Leagues.
According to people with knowledge of the situation, the reason for Eckstein’s silence is because Rizzo doesn’t want Eckstein to blame himself for the problems at the plate. Rizzo is one of Eckstein’s biggest supporters.
Rizzo also believes members of the media would not talk to Eckstein if the team was hitting well at the plate. Instead, they would talk only to the players.
Eckstein is considered one of the hardest working coaches in baseball. In fact, outfielder Jayson Werth said recently, “Ecky sleeps and drinks baseball.”
Before going on the disabled list because of a shoulder injury, first baseman Adam LaRoche said the team’s hitting woes were not Eckstein’s fault.
“It’s not easy for him at all. It might be harder on him than it is an individual hitter,” LaRoche said. “The entire team feels responsible. He has done everything he could possibility do to get guys on track. He spends more time watching video. He goes in the batter’s box to just to mimic player’s swings just to get a feeling in the batter’s box.”
It’s not known how long Eckstein will remain silent. Calls to Rizzo were not returned and Eckstein was not available for comment.
Eckstein has been Washington’s hitting coach since 2009. That year, Washington was tied for sixth in the National League with a .258 batting average.
Last year, the Nationals were tied for ninth in the NL with a .250 batting average.