Results tagged ‘ Bill Castro ’

Bosio back as advance scout

BosioC09RS007.jpgChris Bosio will be back with the Brewers in 2010, though he probably won’t spend much time at Miller Park. 

Bosio, who finished 2009 as Milwaukee’s interim pitching coach and was one of three finalists for the permanent job, will instead travel ahead of the team in a newly-created advance scouting position meant to enhance the video-based system already in place. Bosio served a similar role for the Mariners late in the 2001 season. 

“We talked about a number of different things, but this was the one we talked about at the most length,” Bosio said, referring to his discussions with Brewers general manager Doug Melvin. “I enjoy breaking down the game and trying to help us win.” 

Friday’s appointment came 10 days after the team announced Bosio would not return as pitching coach — that job went to organizational newcomer Rick Peterson — but would be back in a role to be determined. Bosio could have gone to the post he held at the start of 2009 as Triple-A Nashville’s pitching coach, but took the scouting job instead. 

The Brewers for years have relied on a video system for their advance scouting reports on opponents. Bosio will work closely with Karl Mueller, the Brewers manager of advance scouting and baseball research, to help to fill what manager Ken Macha called “holes” in that system by seeing upcoming opponents in person. He’ll talk to coaches and fellow scouts about everything from managerial tendencies to who’s swinging a hot bat. 

How Bosio’s reports will fit into the current system and the precise details of his travel schedule remain to be ironed-out with Melvin. 

“It’s another step in my career, another role that interests me,” Bosio said. “I’m thrilled that the organization was looking at me to fill it.” 

Understandably, he would be been more thrilled to be retained as the pitching coach. Bosio took over that job on an interim basis on Aug. 12 when Bill Castro was dismissed. Castro had spent 17 years as Milwaukee’s bullpen coach but lasted only 4 1/2 regular-season months as the pitching coach. 

The Brewers finished the year with a 4.83 ERA, next-to-last in the National League, and tied for last in the Major Leagues with a 5.37 starters’ ERA. Bosio inherited a staff still riddled with injuries. 

“[Returning as the pitching coach] was my first choice, but they wanted to make a change,” he said. “Change happens in baseball. That’s one thing that’s the same whether you’re a player or a coach.

“It was a hell of an opportunity and I tried to make the most of it,” he said. “I enjoyed it, being a guy from Wisconsin and a former Brewer.” 

Bosio, who lives near Appleton, Wis., just north of Milwaukee, was the Brewers’ second-round Draft pick in 1982 and pitched for the team in the big leagues from 1986-92.

“Now my responsibility is different, but I’m going to go work just as hard,” he said. 

No regrets for departed Castro

For the first time in nearly 18 years, the Brewers prepared for a game on Wednesday and Bill Castro wasn’t part of it.

The team dismissed Castro earlier in the day, so he spent the day fielding calls from well-wishers — including what Castro called a particularly touching call from former Brewers president Wendy Selig-Prieb — and pondering what went wrong. By the time players were trotting off the field after batting practice, Castro was out on his backyard deck with his family, tending to some chicken on the grill.

“After being there so many years, it’s different,” he said. “There’s a baseball game, and I’m not going. But you have to move on. This is a business, and I was the face of the pitching staff so I was the one to go. That’s how it works in baseball.”

Castro, who pitched 11 of his 14 professional seasons for the Brewers, then spent four years as a coach in Milwaukee’s Minor League chain, had been the Brewers bullpen coach through 17 seasons and six different managers before finally getting a promotion to pitching coach last winter. His tenure lasted only 112 games, during which Brewers pitchers ranked 27th in the Major Leagues with a 4.84 ERA while allowing a Major League-leading 151 home runs.  The staff also issued 421 walks, fifth-most in the Majors.

Injuries to Dave Bush, Seth McClung and Jeff Suppan hurt, and so did the struggles of Manny Parra and Carlos Villanueva. All were holdovers from 2008, and that familiarity was one of the reasons general manager Doug Melvin convinced incoming manager Ken Macha to give Castro a shot.

It just didn’t work out.

“I know Doug feels bad, and I feel worse,” Castro said. “They felt they needed to make a change. I don’t have any regrets. I did the best I could with what I had. The worst thing was losing Bush and Suppan because that had a domino effect.”

He would be open to remaining in the organization as an instructor, and said Melvin suggested getting lunch in the coming days. Castro expressed no regret about leaving the relative security of his bullpen post for the spotlight that accompanies a Major League pitching coach.

“I always wanted to be a big league pitching coach, and it was especially special that it happened for me in Milwaukee,” he said. “This is the only organization that I’ve known, basically. Everything I have done in baseball is thanks to the Brewers. But they had a make a change, and I was the guy.”

In the clubhouse: Player reaction

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div.Section1Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said he
“shocked” manager Ken Macha Tuesday night when he told Macha of the
changes the club was going to make Wednesday morning.

“Shocked” and “surprised” were two of
the main words going around in the Brewers clubhouse Wednesday afternoon, hours
after the Brewers relieved pitching coach Bill Castro, optioned shortstop J.J.
Hardy to Triple-A Nashville and designated Bill Hall.

Here is some reaction from the players:

First, from Hall, the longest tenured Brewer, about
leaving the only team he’s ever known: “It’s something that just happens,
nothing big. I’m happy about the time I spent here. [First time in] 26 years we
made the playoffs here, so I had a lot of good times and I appreciate
everything this organization has done for me and I think it’s time for a new
chapter in my life. I’m excited about this chapter. Hopefully these guys can
pull it together and turn things around. I’m definitely excited about the next
chapter in my life.”

Injured second baseman Rickie Weeks on losing Hall and Hardy, his
long-time double play partner: “Shocked, basically. I don’t have too many
words to say because of disappointment for everyone else. But it was just
one of those things where it’s baseball, it’s a business thing and sometimes it
sucks, plain and simple.”

Craig Counsell on how shakeups like these affect the
clubhouse: “On a personal level you feel for those guys, for sure, we all
do. But the nature of our jobs is that we have to go perform tonight and
frankly it doesn’t matter who’s here, you still have to go perform, that’s your
job. … It doesn’t change the way you go out and prepare or the way you’re
going to go out and do your job. I don’t know what effect it has [in the
clubhouse]. Obviously, Doug felt he had to do something.”

And finally, center fielder Mike Cameron, who was trying to keep the clubhouse light before batting practice, on
whether the moves will light a spark in the clubhouse: “Who knows what could
possibly come about. There are certain things that happen during the course of
the season. You saw Colorado get a spark in a change of their manager, you see
some teams get guys come up and they may provide an extra burst of energy.
There are a lot of things that take place, but the one real thing that’s going
to happen, regardless of everything’s that going on today and different things
and different situations that take place, at 7:05 [p.m.] we still have to

With that said, here are tonight’s lineups:

San Diego
Tony Gwynn CF
David Eckstein 2B
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
Chase Headley LF
Wil Venable RF
Kevin Kouzmanoff 3B
Henry Blanco C
Everth Cabrera SS
Kevin Correia RHP

Felipe Lopez 2B
Craig Counsell SS
Ryan Braun LF
Prince Fielder 1B
Mike Cameron CF
Casey McGehee 3B
Frank Catalanotto RF
Jason Kendall C
Carlos Villanueva RHP


Crew shake-up: Castro, Hall out; Hardy optioned

MILWAUKEE — After his team lost for the 22nd time in 35 games on Tuesday night, Brewers general manager Doug Melvin apparently decided it was time for a shake-up. In a trio of decisive moves Wednesday morning, the team:

– Dismissed pitching coach Bill Castro, an 18-year veteran of the coaching staff who did not make it through his first season as pitching coach. Triple-A pitching coach Chris Bosio will replace Castro on an interim basis.

– Optioned slumping shortstop J.J. Hardy to Nashville and promoted co-top prospect Alcides Escobar to take his place.

– Announced that infielder/outfielder Bill Hall, the organization’s longest-tenured player, had been designated for assignment. Outfielder Jason Bourgeois was promoted from Nashville to replace Hall.

All three moves were likely difficult ones for Melvin, given Castro’s and Hall’s long service to the team and the fact Hardy is two years removed from an All-Star appearance. Melvin was to meet with reporters at 3 p.m. CT at Miller Park.

The GM did address Castro’s dismissal in a statement.

“We appreciate and admire the dedication and tireless work ethic put forth by Bill Castro over the last 18 seasons,” Melvin said.  “A move like this is never easy to make, especially given Bill’s longevity with the organization and considering how hard he worked to reach this position.”

Castro pitched in the Brewers organization from 1970-80, then returned to the club as a Minor League coach from 1988-91 before taking a job on the big league staff. He was the bullpen coach for six different managers from 1992-2008 before realizing a long-time goal and being named pitching coach on Nov. 7, 2008.

But injuries to Dave Bush and Jeff Suppan and inconsistencies throughout the staff have marred the Brewers’ 2009. After the team’s 13-6 loss to the weak-hitting Padres Tuesday night, the Brewers’ pitching staff ranked 27th in the Major Leagues with a 4.84 ERA while allowing a Major League-leading 151 home runs in 112 games.  The staff also issued 421 walks, fifth-most in the Majors.

Bosio, 46, was the Tampa Bay Rays’ pitching coach in 2003. He was in his first season as pitching coach at Triple-A Nashville, a staff that entered Wednesday tied for second in the Pacific Coast League in team ERA (4.05) while allowing the fourth-fewest home runs (83). 

The Brewers’ second-round Draft pick in 1982, Bosio pitched in the Majors for Milwaukee (1986-92) and Seattle (1993-96). He will wear No. 43 beginning Wednesday night.

Bosio’s won’t be the only new uniform number on Wednesday. Escobar (No. 21) and Bourgeois (No. 16) will replace two of the team’s most underachieving players.

Hardy, the subject of trade rumors virtually all season, was hitting a career-low .229 with 11 home runs and 45 RBI, including .220 with 13 RBIs since July 1. That wasn’t good enough to hold off Escobar, who was batting .298 with four home runs, 34 RBIs and 42 stolen bases in 109 games at Nashville.  He’s considered Milwaukee’s co-top prospect along with third baseman Mat Gamel  but already has a taste of the big leagues. Escobar was among Milwaukee’s September call-ups last year, then earned a spot on the playoff roster after second baseman Rickie Weeks suffered an injury.

Bourgeois is more unknown to Brewers coaches and fans because he missed much of Spring Training while recovering from a broken thumb. The right-handed hitting speedster batted .316 in 105 games at Nashville with 36 steals. He appeared in six games with the White Sox last season.

He replaces Hall, who remains stuck in a three-year slump and briefly was optioned to Nashville last month. Hall was quickly called back after Corey Hart underwent an appendectomy, and Hall went 3-for-15 in four games since his return including a start on Tuesday night in which he hit a two-run home run. Overall this season, Hall was hitting .201 with six homers and 24 RBIs.

The team has 10 days to trade Hall, release him or assign him outright to the Minors, an assignment Hall could refuse. For the first time since 2002, he is no longer on Milwaukee’s 40-man roster.

The team stands to take a major financial hit because Hall is making $6.8 million this season and is due $8.4 million in 2010 as part of the four-year, $24 million contract he signed after belting 35 home runs in 2006. The deal also includes a $500,000 buyout of a $9.25 club option for 2011.

Hoffman gets his work in early

Closer Trevor Hoffman, who was penciled in for an inning of work against the Angels, opted instead for a 32-pitch bullpen session on a back mound at Maryvale Baseball Park on Thursday morning.

“He wanted to work on some things and felt more comfortable doing it back there,” Brewers pitching coach Bill Castro said. “That’s fine. He feels he gets more out of doing it that way.”

Unlike many veteran pitchers who use Spring Training to “work on things” and don’t necessarily care about the results, Hoffman said after his Cactus League debut Wednesday that he approaches games the same whether it’s February or October. If he’s pitching, he’s pitching to get outs.

The Brewers are allowing Hoffman to set his own spring schedule, and by moving his work to the bullpen, he actually increased his workload a bit. Hoffman was only scheduled for about 20 pitches in Thursday’s game.

“I actually stood in [the batter’s box] today when he was finishing up,” bullpen coach Stan Kyles said. “He looks good. I can see why he’s been pretty much unhittable in the ninth inning. It’s pretty impressive.”