Results tagged ‘ Rick Peterson ’

Peterson's thoughts about short rest

As the Yankees and Phillies get set for Game 6 of the World Series, I wanted to note two stories filed yesterday as part of our World Series coverage that included some thoughts from new Brewers pitching coach Rick Peterson. Jennifer Langosch solicited feedback from around baseball about the Yankees’ use of a three-man rotation against the Phillies, and John Schlegel wrote about an issue near but not-so-dear to Brewers fan’s hearts: The general shortage of pitching in baseball.

Both stories were buried amid the mountain of coverage from yesterday’s workout at Yankee Stadium, so I wanted to call them out to those of you Brewers fans who have been following. Peterson, who continues to work on a side venture — 3P Sports — that helps pitchers avoid injuries, had interesting thoughts in both stories.

“The Yankees have a definite need,” Peterson told me for the short-rest story.
“They don’t have a fourth starter. If we were talking about a couple of
years ago and [Chien-Ming] Wang was coming off 19 wins, they would go
with four starters, I guarantee it. But they don’t have a choice right
now, because they only have three guys, and they made sure those three
had ample rest coming down the stretch.”

One of those guys is lefty Andy Pettitte, who was scheduled to start Game 6 as the Yankees tried to clinch.

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Peterson: 'Our philosophies are aligned'

The Brewers did not just hire a pitching coach on Tuesday. They hired a pitching philosophy.

The team announced its deal with former A’s and Mets pitching guru Rick Peterson, who has a degree in psychology and a track record of success employing biomechanics, a system of analyzing pitchers’ deliveries to look for ways to limit injuries and improve performance. Brewers medical staffers and coaches have been working in that area for several years, but now they are willing to embrace it in earnest.

“I asked right up front: Are you looking just for a big league pitching coach, or are you looking for an organizational philosophy?” Peterson said. “I’m more interested in integrating a philosophy, and that’s what they were looking for.

“How much more exciting can it be? This is the work I’ve done my entire career, and it’s the path the organization wants to go down.”

Peterson got a two-year contract. The Brewers also announced that bullpen coach Stan Kyles would be back for a second season, and that Chris Bosio, who finished the 2009 season as Milwaukee’s interim pitching coach, will return to the organization in a role yet to be determined.

Peterson has yet to look at video of Milwaukee’s pitchers, most of whom are under team control for next season. Peterson was more interested in getting a feel for the organizational pitching philosophy, and whether key decision-makers were willing to embrace his program.

He was left with little doubt.

“It’s very important that our philosophies are aligned,” Peterson said. “Until the interview, I didn’t realize how much we were aligned. I didn’t know that the Brewers’ orthopedic doctor [longtime head team physician William Raasch] was implementing biomechanical analysis throughout the organization.

“I was on the ground floor of this in 1989 with Dr. [James] Andrews at ASMI Lab. When you look at my career path, my life’s path, I tried to design the best pitching system that could be designed, and now I’m coming to an organization that embraces that philosophy.

“Some of the other places I’ve been, it was a battle to a degree. They either didn’t have anything in place or felt like it was too scientific, too data-driven. Whatever it was, there was opposition and a desire to be more old-school. With Milwaukee, all the way up to the ownership, it seems they are a very forward-looking team. It’s traditional baseball intertwined with new-age thinking.”

Peterson will now begin looking at video of the pitchers Milwaukee has in place and will also do “inside the numbers” analysis of their statistics to look for ways to improve. At some point during or just before Spring Training, Peterson would like to have those pitchers undergo a biomechanical analysis to look for ways to improve.

Peterson gets two-year deal; Kyles, Bosio back

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin wondered aloud during the team’s tough 2009 season whether his biggest loss wasn’t free agent pitchers CC Sabathia or Ben Sheets but free agent pitching coach Mike Maddux, who bolted after six seasons in Milwaukee for more money with the Texas Rangers.

So on Tuesday, on the heels of a woeful season for the Brewers’ pitching staff, Melvin moved to fill that hole and finalized a two-year contract for former A’s and Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson.

The team also announced that Stan Kyles would return for a second season as bullpen coach. Chris Bosio, who served as interim pitching coach after Bill Castro was dismissed Aug. 12, also will be offered a position in the organization, either in his former role as the pitching coach at Triple-A Nashville or a newly-created job as an advance scout.

Peterson has been Milwaukee’s top target from the start, and Melvin traveled on the final day of the regular season to Newark Airport in New Jersey for an interview. Peterson’s ties to Brewers manager Ken Macha date back to 1997, when Macha managed Double-A Trenton in the Red Sox chain and Peterson was his pitching coach for a half-season.

They reunited in 1999 in Oakland, where Peterson was already the pitching coach and Macha joined manager Art Howe’s staff as the bench coach. When Macha was elevated to manage the team in 2003 Peterson remained for one more season, then left to re-join Howe with the New York Mets.

Howe was succeeded after the 2004 season by new manager Willie Randolph, and Peterson and Randolph worked together until both were dismissed in June 2008. Randolph is now the Brewers’ bench coach.

Peterson, who turns 55 next Friday, was out of coaching in 2009 and focused on his business, 3P Sports, which offers biomechanical analysis to amateur and professional pitchers.

“After taking this year off to recharge my batteries a little bit, my passion to get back on the field is unbelievable,” he told MLB.com on Oct. 9. “It’s a very intriguing place to be because I think Milwaukee could win if the pitching gets turned around. That’s pretty much what I do best. I think it’s a place that would be a mutual fit.”

Brewers in talks with Peterson

willie-randolph-rick-peterson-180sm.jpg(UPDATED, at 5:30 CT with comment from Peterson)

The Brewers have focused on Rick Peterson for their pitching coach vacancy and were working Friday to conclude negotiations quickly.

Peterson, the former A’s and Mets pitching coach considered an expert on biomechanics, worked closely in the past with Brewers manager Ken Macha and third base coach Brad Fischer in Oakland and Brewers bench coach Willie Randolph in New York. He would be called upon to turn around a Milwaukee staff that posted the second-highest ERA in the National League last season including the worst mark among starters.

Speaking generally about the search late Friday morning without naming any candidates, Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash said that the process was “moving along.”

“It’s getting into the final bits here,” Ash said.

Reached later in the day, Peterson declined to say that he had been offered the job but said, “I think it’s a great fit, without question. I’m really excited to hear what decision they make and where we’re going to go with this. I have talked to some other teams and interviewed with some other teams, so I want to find out what’s on the table as soon as possible. …

“Philosophically, we are totally, totally in line,” he said of his discussions with Brewers officials. I’m incredibly optimistic. I think this is a great, great fit. I walked out of the interview going, ‘Wow.’ I am incredibly excited.”

The Brewers might have some competition in wooing Peterson. He has also had contact with other teams in need of a pitching coach, including the Cincinnati Reds, but as of last week he had not formally interviewed for that job. This week, Peterson indicated an interest in the Florida Marlins’ opening to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, though that story did not say whether the Marlins had called him in to interview.

Peterson has spoken with several Brewers officials about the job in recent days but that does not necessarily mean negotiations will be a slam-dunk. Former Brewers coach Mike Maddux set the standard when he left Milwaukee last winter for a deal in Texas that made him one of the game’s highest-paid pitching coaches, with an annual salary reportedly in the neighborhood of $600,000. When the Mets hired Peterson away from Oakland after the 2003 season, negotiations lasted nearly a month, according to one report.

The Mets dismissed Peterson along with Randolph in June 2008 and he spent his year out of the coaching ranks focused on a business, 3pSports.com, that offers biomechanical analysis and training programs to amateur and professional pitchers.

Peterson interested in Marlins, too

The Brewers want to wrap-up their search for a pitching coach very soon and all indications have been that former A’s and Mets coach Rick Peterson is the leading candidate. But the Brewers are looking at other coaches, and Peterson is reportedly looking at other teams.

Here’s what Peterson told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel about the Marlins:

“I’m definitely interested,” Peterson said. “No question about it. I think they can win and I think they can win very soon. With their young pitching, obviously you have to keep them healthy and get a little more production out of them. That’s pretty much been my track record in my career.”

As that story points out, Peterson saw a lot of the Marlins during parts of five seasons as the pitching coach in New York. Florida might also be alluring because Peterson is from the East Coast

I also mentioned the Reds as a possibility for Peterson, and heard that he had indeed called that club expressing interest but as of late last week had not formally interviewed.

Candidate list grows for pitching post

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin has interviewed a third candidate for the team’s pitching coach vacancy, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

In addition to former A’s and Mets coach Rick Peterson, who interviewed last Monday on the East Coast, and former D-backs coach Bryan Price, who interviewed in Arizona on Thursday or Friday, Melvin has met, according to the newspaper, with Chuck Hernandez, who spent 2009 as Cleveland’s bullpen coach.

Hernandez, 48, has been a big-league pitching coach for the Angels (where he served alongside Brewers manager Ken Macha from 1992-94), Rays and Tigers, and was rumored to be a Brewers candidate last year when the team was searching for a replacement for Mike Maddux. But Melvin urged Macha to pick longtime Brewers bullpen coach Bill Castro

The move didn’t work. Castro was dismissed on Aug. 12, and Melvin opted not to offer his interim replacement, Chris Bosio, or bullpen coach Stan Kyles, a contract for 2010.

Price, 47, has been the pitching coach for the Mariners and D-backs. He was with Arizona from 2006-2009 but resigned in June after Arizona fired manager Bob Melvin and has been working as a consultant with the Phillies. He’s also been mentioned as a candidate for an opening on Florida’s staff.

Peterson may be the strongest candidate because of his ties to Macha and third base coach Brad Fischer from Oakland, plus bench coach Willie Randolph from New York, and last week he confirmed his strong interest in the Milwaukee job to MLB.com.

Peterson confirms interest in Brewers job

Rick Peterson honored the code of silence imposed by Brewers general manager Doug Melvin
and declined to say whether he had interviewed to be Milwaukee’s next
pitching coach. But Peterson didn’t hide his strong interest in the
job. 

“After taking this year off to recharge my batteries a
little bit, my passion to get back on the field is unbelievable,”
Peterson said via telephone Friday from outside Yankee Stadium, where
he was part of the broadcast of Game 2 of the American League Division
Series between the Yankees and Twins. 

“It’s what I’ve done my
whole life, and Milwaukee is at the very top of my list,” he said.
“It’s a very intriguing place to be because I think Milwaukee could win
if the pitching gets turned around. That’s pretty much what I do best.
I think it’s a place that would be a mutual fit.” 

Peterson,
54, is the only candidate so far linked to the Brewers in published
reports, including one on FoxSports.com early Friday that said he had
already formally interviewed. Melvin has already spoken to at least two
candidates but declined this week to name them. 

The search
will likely be brief. Melvin said he wants to hire a pitching coach
before the end of the month so that person could participate in
offseason planning. 

Peterson is an obvious candidate because of his ties to Brewers manager Ken Macha and third base coach Brad Fischer
from Oakland, where Macha was the bench coach and then the manager and
Fischer worked extensively with Peterson as the A’s bullpen coach.
Peterson’s working relationship with Macha actually dates back to 1997,
when Macha managed Double-A Trenton in the Red Sox chain and Peterson
was his pitching coach for a half-season. 

willie-randolph-rick-peterson-180sm.jpgAfter the 2003 season, Peterson was hired away from Oakland by the Mets. He remained as pitching coach when Willie Randolph was hired to manage the team for 2005. Randolph is now the Brewers’ bench coach. 

Peterson said he had “strong relationships” with all three men.   

“He
might be the most thorough coach I’ve ever been around,” said Macha,
who will be back for a second season as Brewers manager. “He’s prepared
in all aspects of the game. He watches more film. He does more computer
study. He has a program for these pitchers for long toss, balance,
biomechanics. He’s done it all. He’s as prepared as anybody. I normally
let my coaches go do their thing, and I let him do his thing.” 

Peterson spent his year out of the coaching ranks launching a business, 3pSports.com, with noted surgeon Dr. James Andrews and former pitchers Al Leiter and Tom Glavine,
among others. The company offers biomechanical analysis and workout
programs to pitchers designed to improve performance and limit the
chance of injury. 

Peterson was introduced to the science of
biomechanics in 1989, when he was the first coach to walk through the
doors of Andrews’ now-famous American Sports Medicine Institute in
Birmingham, Ala. He would return at least 80 times with professional
pitchers, a list that eventually grew to include Oakland’s “Big Three”
of Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito. Andrews broke-down deliveries and looked for ways to avoid injury. 

Peterson became a believer. So much so, that his 3pSports now offers the same program to Little Leaguers. 

“I’m
looking for a home that embraces this philosophy and wants to implement
it throughout the organization,” Peterson said. “Milwaukee, from what I
can gather, is a forward-looking organization. To me, it’s really
exciting because I think the philosophies fit.” 

Asked earlier this week whether he had interviewed Peterson, Melvin declined to answer. 

“We
don’t want to say who we’re talking to at this point, because there are
a lot of other teams out there looking for coaches,” Melvin said. “We
don’t want to advertise who we’re looking at. The cat’s out of the bag
on one guy. I interviewed him on Monday and another team interviewed
him the next day. That kind of thing happens, so you don’t have to let
the world know.” 

If Peterson was in fact Melvin’s interview
subject on Monday, the Tuesday team might have been the Cincinnati
Reds, who dismissed pitching coach Dick Pole on Oct. 2. A
number of other teams could be in the market for a new pitching coach
this winter but will likely complete managerial searches first.  

Macha’s opinion will count in Melvin’s choice. 

“Ken
will have a say in it,” Melvin said. “That’s very important. Coaches
and the manager live together for 200 days, so it’s important that the
manager has a comfort level and a say.” 

The Brewers are looking for full-time replacements for interim pitching coach Chris Bosio and bullpen coach Stan Kyles. Neither were offered contracts to return for 2010 but Melvin said they would remain candidates for the vacancies. 

Peterson wasn’t completely out of baseball in 2009. He was called upon by then-Rays left-hander Scott Kazmir
to help escape a midseason slump, and Kazmir, who worked with Peterson
in New York, posted a 1.73 ERA in six starts after a trade to the
Angels. A few weeks later, Peterson got a call from Mulder, who was
looking to rebuild his mechanics following shoulder surgery. 

“There’s no doubt he has a track record,” Macha said.
 

Tidbits: Hoffman, Suppan, Sheets, Hardy

The discussion about whether the Brewers would trade Ryan Braun or Prince Fielder was the most interesting part of general manager Doug Melvin’s year-end wrap-up with the media, but here’s a taste of the other topics discussed:

- The Brewers officially announced their new deal with closer Trevor Hoffman, who re-signed for one year plus a mutual option for 2011. The contract guarantees $8 million and could pay as much as $16.5 million over two years. 

 “By signing Trevor Hoffman, that was a big splash for us,” Melvin said. “If our pitching is going to improve, we have to keep the success we had at the back end of our bullpen. And also, to attract free agent starting pitchers, one of the first questions they always want to know is, ‘Who is the closer?'” 

- Melvin hinted that the focus on pitching could make it difficult for the team to re-sign its key free agents, including center fielder Mike Cameron and catcher Jason Kendall. Rickie Weeks is the second baseman, Melvin reiterated, making it likely that free agent Felipe Lopez will also be let go.

Assistant GM Gord Ash conceded that it’s difficult for teams to win with unproven players up the middle but insisted it can be done. He mentioned Lorenzo Cain and Logan Schafer as the team’s top center field prospects and said Jonathan Lucroy was the team’s top catching prospect. Interestingly, Angel Salome’s name was not brought up.

- Jeff Suppan, the Brewers’ 2009 Opening Day starter, is not guaranteed a spot in the 2010 starting rotation despite his $12.5 million salary. It will be the final season of his four-year contract, and he projects as the team’s highest-paid player for the second straight year. 

“I think Jeff is a professional and he knows that he will come into camp and [compete],” Melvin said. “You have to give him some credit for the fact he’s been given the ball a lot of years. He’s very seldom injured. … I don’t think there will be very many guarantees about who will be in the rotation. We probably have to make it more competitive to get better.” 

- Free agent righty Ben Sheets, who missed all of 2009 following elbow surgery, is still on the Brewers’ radar.

“Ben is somebody who would have to be on anybody’s list when it comes to improving your pitching staff,” Ash said. “We’re not up to date with his physical condition right now since he’s no longer in our care, so that would have to be Step 1. But from our point of view, we enjoyed Ben as part of the Brewers and there’s been, ‘once in a while’ conversations with his agent to remind him that we still have that ongoing interest. It hasn’t been followed-up yet.”

- Melvin already interviewed one potential pitching coach on Monday and was to travel with Ash on Thursday to interview another candidate. He wouldn’t say whether he had already spoken with former A’s and Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson, an early favorite for the position because of his past working relationships with Brewers manager Ken Macha and bench coach Willie Randolph

“We don’t want to advertise who we’re looking at,” Melvin said. “The cat’s out of the bag on one guy. I interviewed him on Monday and another team interviewed him the next day.” 

- Ash shed more light on the options that faced third baseman Casey McGehee, who underwent successful surgery on Tuesday. McGehee has a lesion in his knee, Ash said, that causes fragments of bone to break away. He could have had a more intensive procedure to inject healthy cells into the knee to promote re-growth but it was a riskier procedure that could have sidelined McGehee weeks or even months into the 2010 season. 

“He elected, after consulting with a couple of surgeons, to have kind of the intermediary procedure done, and that was to take out all of the fragments and hope that area of his knee remains intact,” Ash said. “We don’t have 100 percent guarantee on that. What we do know about Casey is that he’s an excellent worker and he’s motivated.” 

- Melvin did little to dispute the notion that shortstop J.J. Hardy will be traded this winter to make room for Alcides Escobar. Hardy’s value is down both because of his poor 2009 season (he batted .229 and was optioned to the Minors in August) and because the rest of the league knows that the Brewers are ready to install Escobar. 

“It might be down a little bit,” Melvin said of Hardy’s value. “But there are still clubs that have interest in him. Shortstop is a big hole to fill.”

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Report: Brewers mulling Peterson as pitching coach

200px-Rick_Peterson.jpgThe Brewers could hire Rick Peterson to be their pitching coach for 2010, according to a report from FOXSports.com on Sunday.

Citing Major League sources, the report said Brewers officials have held internal discussions about Peterson but haven’t reached out to him. Brewers manager Ken Macha worked alongside Peterson in Oakland, and bench coach Willie Randolph managed the Mets for three seasons with Peterson as his pitching coach.

When Macha took over as Brewers manager last fall, he was encouraged to keep as many coaches as possible from the previous season and promoted longtime Brewers bullpen coach Bill Castro to the pitching coach post to replace Mike Maddux, who departed for Texas. Castro was dismissed on Aug. 12 and replaced on an interim basis by Triple-A pitching coach and former Brewer Chris Bosio.

Bosio is presumably a candidate for the full-time job next season but Macha may want to being in his own man, assuming he’s back as manager.

Including Dave Bush’s loss to the Phillies on Sunday, Brewers pitchers have a 4.75 ERA this season, next to last in the National League.

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