Nationals announce additions to major league coaching staff

The Washington Nationals announced the majority of manager Dave Martinez’s coaching staff on Thursday, making the additions of bench coach Chip Hale, pitching coach Derek Lilliquist, hitting coach Kevin Long, first base coach Tim Bogar, third base coach Bobby Henley, and assistant hitting coach Joe Dillon official. Nationals President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcements.

Hale, 52, joins the Nationals staff after serving as the Oakland Athletics third base coach and infield instructor in 2017. A veteran Major League coach and former manager (Arizona Diamondbacks, 2015-16), Hale is a seasoned bench coach, serving in that role on A’s manager Bob Melvin’s staff from 2012-14. From 2010-11, Hale was the New York Mets’ third base coach and infield instructor, and served in the same role for the 2007-09 Diamondbacks staff, again under Melvin. Hale also enjoyed six seasons as a Minor League manager in the Diamondbacks’ organization before joining Melvin’s Major League staff. He led Triple-A Tucson to the Pacific Coast League and Triple-A titles in 2006 with a franchise-best 91-53 mark. His 233 wins and .540 winning percentage as Tucson’s manager from 2004-06 are also all-time franchise records. In 2002, Hale managed Double-A El Paso to the Texas League championship and he led Rookie-League Single-A Missoula to the Northern Division’s second-half championship in 2001. A former Major League player, Hale hit .277 with seven home runs and 78 RBI in 333 games for two different clubs: Minnesota Twins (1989-90, 1993-96), and Los Angeles Dodgers (1997).

Lilliquist, 51, comes to Washington after 16 seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals organization - the last six as the club’s Major League pitching coach. Serving as the Cardinals’ bullpen coach in 2011, Lilliquist took over the pitching coach duties full-time in August, 2012. During his five full seasons as the Cardinals’ pitching coach (2013-17), St. Louis’ hurlers posted a 3.59 ERA. In 2015, the Cardinals pitching staff led MLB with a 2.94 ERA, the team’s lowest mark since 1969 and the lowest in the majors since 1988. In 2014, the staff tallied an MLB-best 23 shutouts, the most by a Cardinals team since the mound was lowered after the 1968 season. Before joining St. Louis’ Major League staff as the bullpen coach (2011-12), Lilliquist served as the Jupiter Complex pitching coordinator from 2008-10, working with rehabilitating pitchers, and from 2004-07 as the pitching coach for Single-A Palm Beach. A former Major League pitcher, Lilliquist appeared in 262 games over eight seasons with five different clubs (Atlanta, 1989-90; San Diego, 1990-91; Cleveland, 1992-94; Boston, 1995; and Cincinnati, 1996).

Long, 50, becomes the Nationals’ hitting coach after three seasons in the same role with the New York Mets and eight seasons in that role with the New York Yankees. Under long’s tutelage, the Mets hit a franchise record 218 home runs in 2016, and in 2015 he was integral in the development of Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy’s (then with the Mets) ascendance as one of the game’s premier hitters. The Yankees led the Major Leagues in runs scored in three of his seven seasons with the club, and over the totality of his eight seasons, New York led the Major Leagues in home runs (1,584), RBI (6,206), and ranked second in runs scored (6,485). From 2004-06, Long served as the Yankees’ hitting coach at Triple-A Columbus, and in the same roles for Triple-A Omaha (2002-03), and Double-A Wichita (2000-01). Long, who spent eight seasons in the Kansas City Royals’ organization as a Minor League player, already has Nationals ties as his son, Jaron, pitched for Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse in 2017.

Bogar, 51, joins Washington as its first base coach, coming to the Nationals after spending the past two seasons as the Seattle Mariners’ bench coach. Bogar, a veteran Major League coach, Minor League manager, and one-time interim manager for the Texas Rangers (2014), will return to the first base coaches box for the first time since he served in that role for the Boston Red Sox in 2009. With nine seasons as a Major League coach under his belt, Bogar spent the 2015 season as a Special Assistant to the General Manager with the Los Angeles Angels. Serving as the bench coach for the Rangers in 2014, and eventually interim manager, Bogar spent four seasons on the Major League coaching staff with the Red Sox (2009-12), as first base coach, third base coach (2010-11), and bench coach (2012). Bogar filled the role of quality assurance coach for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008, after five seasons managing in the Minor Leagues - where he took teams to championship series four times, including winning the Appalachian League title in 2004. Primarily a shortstop during his nine-year Major League playing career (Mets, 1993-96; Astros, 1997-2000; and Dodgers, 2001), Bogar appeared at shortstop, third base, first base, second base, in left field, and even pitched twice.

Henley, 44, will return for his fifth season as Washington’s third base coach and his 24th season with the Montreal/Washington franchise. Henley, who has coached in the Nationals’ system for 15 years, served as the Nationals Minor League field coordinator from 2010-13 and spent four seasons (2006-09) as catching coordinator, as well as manager of the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Nationals. Henley guided the GCL Nationals to a league championship in 2009, posting a 36-19 mark before going a perfect 3-0 in the playoffs. He also served managerial posts in Washington’s system with Single-A Potomac (2005), Single-A Savannah (2004) and the GCL Expos (2003). Henley was selected by the Montreal Expos in the 26th round of the 1991 First-Year Player Draft and made his MLB debut in 1998.

Dillon, 42, returns to the club for which he made his coaching debut as he rejoins the Nationals’ organization after two seasons as the Miami Marlins’ Minor League hitting coordinator. Dillon, who served as the hitting coach with Triple-A Syracuse from 2014-15, came to the Nationals originally after a 12-year playing career as a utility infielder. Spending time in the Kansas City (1997-2001), Minnesota (2002), Florida (2004-05), Milwaukee (2007-08), and Tampa Bay (2009-10) organizations, Dillon made his Major League debut for the Marlins in 2005, replacing Mike Lowell at third base. He went on to play in 137 Major League games for Miami, Milwaukee, and Tampa, hitting .263 with a .344 career on-base percentage.