Nats add former infielder Gutierrez to coaching staff

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – The Nationals have added Ricky Gutierrez to their major league coaching staff, announcing the former infielder will fill the newly created position of run prevention coordinator.

Gutierrez, who has prior minor league coaching and managerial experience, will be on a big league staff for the first time, charged primarily with helping young infielders CJ Abrams and Luis García develop in the field.

“We’ve been thinking about this for quite a while,” manager Davey Martinez said. “For me, it’s about how young we are, and getting more hands-on with some of our younger players. And Ricky fits the bill. I’ve known Ricky for a long time. He’s worked really (well) with our youngsters, especially the infielders. And that’s, for me, what it’s all about.”

Gutierrez, 52, joined the Nationals last year as a special assistant to vice president of international operations Johnny DiPuglia, working both in uniform with minor leaguers and also scouting in Latin America. He spent the previous five seasons working in player development for the Reds, most recently as manager for Double-A Chattanooga in 2021.

A 12-year major league veteran in the 1990s and early 2000s, most notably with the Astros, Gutierrez embraced this change of positions when asked by Martinez, his former teammate with the Cubs.

“I’m very excited about the opportunity,” he said. “I told Davey whatever he needs from me, I’m here to help out in any capacity that I can.”

Gutierrez will work with bench coach Tim Bogar and third base coach Gary DiSarcina, who have been in charge of infield defense. He will work especially with middle infielders, headlined by the Nats’ young duo of Abrams and García. He’ll be in meetings before games and in the dugout during games, helping implement defensive positioning and strategy.

“He’ll be kind of the hands-on guy and help these guys understand where we’re playing and why,” Martinez said. “The big thing is why. We want them to understand why we’re doing what we’re doing, so they have a good feel of the game themselves.”

Gutierrez debuted with the Padres in 1993 as a 23-year-old shortstop. The opportunity to work with Abrams and García was particularly appealing to him at this stage of his life.

“Very talented kids playing in the major leagues,” he said. “My job is just to give them a bit of routine and make sure their game stays sharp. Be there for them in any aspect, but mainly how to go about the game and to be ready for every day at a high level.”

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