Knorr joins Johnson’s staff as bench coach

The Nationals announced manager Davey Johnson’s coaching staff Thursday, adding last year’s manager at Triple-A, Randy Knorr, as the new bench coach. Knorr replaces Pat Corrales, who was reassigned to another position in the organization last month

As expected, the remainder of the staff that finished the 2011 season with Johnson remained intact.

Pitching coach Steve McCatty and hitting coach Rick Eckstein will be in their fourth seasons in those roles, while third base coach Bo Porter returns for a second season. First base coach Trent Jewett, who replaced Dan Radison after the team’s midseason managerial shakeup, is back, too. Bullpen coach Jim Lett will return for a third season.

The 43-year-old Knorr has spent the past seven seasons either as a big league coach or minor league manager in the Washington system, compiling a 384-380 (.503) record as a skipper. After retiring following the 2001 campaign, Knorr started his managerial career with Single-A Savannah in 2005 and has progressed up the organizational ladder. The fact that he’s worked closely with many of the home-grown Nationals certainly played a part in his selection as bench coach.

Knorr managed the Single-A Potomac Nationals to a Carolina League championship in 2008 before moving on to Double-A Harrisburg in 2010 and Syracuse last year. Last year, he skippered the Scottsdale Scorpions to the Arizona Fall League title.

This will be Knorr’s third time as a member of the Nationals’ coaching staff. He previously served as the bullpen coach under Frank Robinson for the final three months of the 2006 season, and for the entire 2009 campaign under Manny Acta.

It will be interesting to see how the Nationals handle grooming a coach to replace Johnson. Both Porter and Knorr have been pegged as possible successors, and Porter has interviewed for a couple of managerial vacancies over the past two offseasons.

Knorr was a big league catcher for 11 seasons with Toronto, Houston, Florida, Texas and Montreal, ending his career with the Expos in 2001. He was a career .226 hitter with 24 homers and 88 RBIs and twice won World Series rings with the Blue Jays in 1993 and 1994