Matt LeCroy played for the Nationals. He is the one who made former Nationals manager Frank Robinson cry once - after Robinson was forced to removed the catcher in the middle of an inning because the opposition was running wild on him. But aside from that infamous moment more than five years ago, LeCroy is quickly becoming a critical asset to teaching the franchise’s prospects how to get better.
The Nationals believe in LeCroy so much that they gave him the keys to teaching the best of their best talent next season.
LeCroy has been named the manager for the Double-A Harrisburg Senators after skippering the Single-A Potomac Nationals last season.
“I was really excited when they called me and told me that they wanted me to be the Double-A manager,” LeCroy said. “I am looking forward to it. The game is a little bit different up there. It is going to be a challenge for me and also for the players.”
LeCroy will be joined by pitching coach Paul Menhart in Harrisburg. Of interesting note, Menhart knew about his new gig before LeCroy did.
“When (Menhart) got the job I was so excited for him,” LeCroy said. “I was still scheduled to go to Potomac, so I was a little disappointed (to lose him) for selfish reasons. He is really good at what he does. It is awesome to be around him on a day-to-day basis.”
LeCroy has not worked with new Senators hitting coach Eric Fox yet, but is looking forward to sharing expertise with the former major league outfielder, who coached for the Senators in 2001.
“I have heard a lot of good things about (Fox) from (Nationals hitting coach) Rick Schu,” LeCroy said. “He has a lot of experience. I will be leaning on both those guys to help me out throughout the season.”
Last year, heavy and continuous rain forced water over the banks of the Susquehanna River, flooding Metro Bank Park late in the post season. But when it is dry, City Island is considered a top-notch baseball facility.
“It is a big change for me and Paul (Menhart) to come to a park every day that is a really nice facility,” Lecroy said. “I have heard it plays pretty big so hopefully that will be an advantage for our pitchers. We will just have to see when the time comes.”
Barring an unexpected promotion in spring training, LeCroy will also be able to manage the Nationals No. 1 prospect Bryce Harper and is looking forward to getting the shot at directing the caliber of players he will see in Harrisburg.
“I have had the chance to manage (Harper) in instructional league for two years before he went to (Arizona) Fall League,” LeCroy recalled. “I am excited about the opportunity to manage him and the group of guys that will be there. Some of our top players will be there in Double-A and some of the guys on our 40-man (roster).
“Our identity as a whole is changing. We are drastically improving every day throughout our system. We will be young, but it will be fun. We will be athletic. I am looking forward to this upcoming season.”