Results tagged ‘ Steve McCatty ’
By Bill Ladson
SAN FRANCISCO – Nationals pitching coach Steve McCatty, normally a mild mannered man, was ejected by home plate umpire Corey Blaser on Saturday night in the bottom of the third inning for reasons unknown.
The Giants had the bases loaded when McCatty came out to talk to left-hander Gio Gonzalez. After talking to Gonzalez for about a minute, McCatty was on his way back to the dugout when he started arguing with Blaser, who ejected the pitching coach. Matt Williams then talked to Blaser to no avail.
It was the first time McCatty was ejected from a game this season.
The Nationals’ relievers are off to a slow start, allowing 20 runs in 21 2/3 innings entering Wednesday action against the White Sox. Ryan Mattheus and Drew Storen are the only pitchers in the bullpen with an ERA of 3.00 or lower. After seven games last year, the relievers allowed just six runs in 20 1/3 innings.
As recently as Tuesday night, the Nats’ bullpen allowed six runs to the White Sox. The big blows came when Paul Konerko hit a three-run homer off Tyler Clippard, while Rafael Soriano allowed a two-run homer to Alex Rios.
But pitching coach Steve McCatty isn’t worried about the bullpen and feels it will get its act together soon. All that matters to McCatty is that the Nationals are winning. The team is 5-2 entering Wednesday’s action.
“Yesterday was two mistakes and we didn’t hit our spots – fastball in and a slider away,” said McCatty who was referring to Clippard and Soriano. “Do I have any concerns? No. Could they do better? Sure. But it’s still early. Clip didn’t give up a run all spring, so something is going to happen. Sori has a little tweak in his leg and that is not an excuse, but it was a pitch we knew you can’t throw that kind of mistake — breaking ball that spins over the plate. He left it in there.
“Everybody is looking at the first seven games that we are playing. Could we be sharper? Sure. Is there a reason to doubt it? No. There is going to be stretches during the season, where everybody is going to have their moments where everything is clicking together. But fortunately, the offense has been good enough that we are still able to get the wins.”
McCatty said he doesn’t have any concerns about anyone in the bullpen, including Henry Rodriguez, who is coming off elbow problems.
“Henry has done better. His arm is feeling fine,” McCatty said. “With him, every once in a while, he has a tendency to overthrow. We know that. But the next time out [against the Reds] he threw nine pitches. So it’s an on-going thing with him. He is still a young kid and learning what he needs to do every time. Am I concern about him? No. He has unbelievable stuff. He has to learn how to harness it.”
Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg had a bullpen session without any problems on Thursday, according to pitching coach Steve McCatty. The news comes two days after Strasburg had his worst outing of his Major League career.
During the session, McCatty told Strasburg to not think too much about his mechanics and just think about getting hitters out. Strasburg, who allowed a career-high six runs in 4 1/3 innings against the Marlins, acknowledged that he didn’t have problems with his right shoulder, which placed him on the disabled list on July 29. However, he didn’t have command of any of his pitches. He said he worried too much about his mechanics and wanted to make sure he didn’t hurt his shoulder again.
“We know our mechanics but we can’t think about our mechanics [while we’re on the mound].” McCatty said. “You have to trust yourself to make competitive pitches at the time. If we worry about where we are and everything being perfect and all that — like mechanics– it takes away what we are trying to do with the hitter. We’re always worried about mechanics. We just have to worry about that guy.
“You would be amazed at how your mechanics will really work if just trust it and not worry about it all the time. Trust yourself to make the pitches and the results that you want. There is a good chance you are going to have success.”
Strasburg, the ace of the Nationals’ pitching staff, will pitch against the Diamondbacks on Sunday. He has pitched in 10 games and is 5-3 with a 3.07 ERA. He leads Washington with 79 strikeouts.
The Nationals will soon announce that John McLaren will be Jim Riggleman’s bench coach and they have retained Rick Eckstein, Pat Listach and Steve McCatty as the hitting coach, third-base coach and pitching coach, respectively, according to a baseball source.
McLaren is best known for managing the Mariners for parts of the 2007 and ’08 seasons. Riggleman was his bench coach in ’08. McLaren was also on Lou Piniella’s coaching staffs when both were with the Reds, Mariners and Devil Rays.
Riggleman and general manager Mike Rizzo were not available for comment.
As for Eckstein, Listach and McCatty, they come back for a second season with Washington. Under Eckstein, the Nationals ranked ninth in hitting [.258], while hitting 156 home runs and 685 RBIs.
Listach, who has managed in the Cubs system for several years, will continue be an infield instructor.
McCatty replaced Randy St. Claire in May and had a great relationship with the young pitchers such as John Lannan and Craig Stammen. McCatty is looking improve a pitching staff that had National League-worst 5.00 ERA.
The Nationals are looking to hire a first-base and bullpen coach. Marquis Grissom and Randy Knorr are not returning to the club. Knorr will be the manager of Double-A Harrisburg and Grissom has been offered a job to be the hitting coach at Triple-A Syracuse. It’s not known if he will accept the job.
Since the Nationals hired Steve McCatty to be their new pitching coach on June 2, the Nationals’ starting rotation has performed well, going 5-10 with a 3.11 ERA.
Two of the starters in the rotation — John Lannan and Craig Stammen — declined to compare McCatty to former pitching coach Randy St. Claire, who was dismissed that same day.
Lannan and Stammen said there are a combination of reasons the starters have pitched well recently. It helps that the rotation is familiar with McCatty, who coached them in Triple-A. All of the starters, which also includes Ross Detwiler, Shairon Martis and Jordan Zimmermann, love McCatty’s old school ways of getting hitter’s out. Just throw strikes.
“He brings a different kind of attitude — maybe one that we needed, kind of a hardball attitude,” Stammen said. “I think we have a bunch of old school guys [in the rotation] who are willing to listen to him and buy in to what he says.
“When you coach, you have to buy into it. It’s not that we didn’t buy into Randy. We just didn’t pitch very well. Cat has done a great job so far.”
Lannan said the rotation turned the page after St. Claire left the team and rely heavily on catchers Josh Bard and Wil Nieves. McCatty also told them to hold themselves accountable, whenever they throw a bad pitch.
“Saint is gone and that is sad, but we have to stop talking about it. His ways are gone,” Lannan said. “It’s kind of a new thought process. It’s kind of sad to say that, but we have to move on. I think a big part of our success is Josh Bard and Wil Nieves. They taught us as a staff that we need to communicate and feed off each other.
“McCatty told us if we make a bad pitch, hey, it’s on us. We are the ones who is throwing the ball. It’s not the catcher who called it, it’s us. You executed the pitch.”
The Nationals have dismissed Randy St. Claire as pitching coach and replaced him with Steve McCatty, who had the same role with Triple-A Syracuse.
Under St. Claire, the Nationals’ pitching staff ranked 30th with a 5.69 ERA. Most of the problems came from the bullpen, which has blown 12 games thus far.
McCatty has been the team’s Triple-A pitching coach since 2005. He also played in the Major Leagues for nine seasons, all with the Athletics. His best season was in 1981, when he went 14-7 with a 2.33 ERA.