On minor league pitching coordinator Paul Menhart: “Menhart’s really done a terrific job. He’s earned his stripes at every level. He’s an excellent teacher. Mechanically he does a terrific job in developing deliveries, developing specific pitches as well as the mental side of the game. We felt like he was the right guy to fill the very big shoes of Spin Williams.”
On senior advisor of player development Spin Williams: “Spin has an opportunity to impact the organization now on a broader scale. We feel very fortunate that we have two guys (Menhart and Williams) that make us better and we are going to tap into that.”
On co-field coordinator Tommy Shields: “We had worked side-by-side as peers in scouting and I originally met him when he was in his first year as a manager with the Orioles (system) and it was my last year as a player with the Orioles. He has held a lot of different jobs from scouting to managing to coordinating, field coordinating. We felt the personality was a tremendous fit for us.”
Harris noted that Shields, at one time, was traded for Tony Beasley. Beasley, who is now the third base coach for the Texas Rangers, was the co-field coordinator last season for the Nationals and previously had been the manager for Triple-A Syracuse. Beasley was traded by the Orioles to the Pirates in 1991 for Shields.
On Triple-A Syracuse pitching coach Bob Milacki: “We are thrilled to have Bob. There were many common acquaintances here with Bob. We share a common vision with a regard to pitching and how to develop pitching. That was critical for us not only his capabilities as a teacher but what he stands for as a man. We’re really excited to have him in the organization.”
On catching coordinator Michael Barrett, who will continue to manage the Rookie-level Gulf Coast Nationals: “He comes from a long line of quality catching coaches that we have had here and he kind of grew up under (third base coach and former major league catcher) Bobby Henley and (bench coach and former major league catcher) Randy Knorr. We feel very fortunate to have a guy like Michael continue the program along the lines that those guys have established. He is the perfect guy to continue our catching program here.”
On life skills coordinator Rick Ankiel: “Through Rick’s time here as a player, we developed a relationship. Probably moreso through his rehab time here, we got to know one another. Obviously, his background is well documented. The trials and tribulations that he went through as a player, as well as personally, made him a very attractive and interesting person for this.
“We started to have some dialogue on this really last spring training, just kicking the tires on it a little bit. As the summer progressed, it gave him some time to digest the possibilities of this and we reconvened in the fall and started to frame the context of the job and the commitment, and things of that nature.
“We share a common vision with this and we are excited to have him in the organization.”
* The 20th Annual Potomac Nationals Hot Stove Banquet has added top prospect Lucas Giolito and MASN color analyst F.P. Santangelo for the event on Sunday, Jan. 25 at the Old Hickory Golf Club in Woodbridge, Va. Giolito will accept the P-Nats Player of the Year award for Tony Renda.
If you are interested in attending the event, here’s more from the P-Nats’ press release on the event:
Old Hickory Golf Club is located at: 11921 Chanceford Drive, Woodbridge, VA, 22192.
Tickets are just $45 for adults and $20 for children (aged 12 and under) and reservations must be placed in advance of the event. No payment for banquet tickets will be accepted at the door.
To RSVP for the 2015 Potomac Nationals Hot Stove Banquet & Silent Auction, call P-Nats Business Manager, Shawna Hooke at 703-590-2311, ext. 212. The RSVP deadline to attend the event is Tuesday, Jan. 20 at noon EST.
Please note due to the high level of fan interest in attending the 2015 P-Nats Hot Stove event, limited tickets are available.