Nationals retain entire coaching staff
Marks first offseason since move to capital without changes
WASHINGTON -- The Nationals announced that their entire coaching staff -- Ricardo Aponte, Pat Corrales, Lenny Harris, Jerry Morales, Randy St. Claire and Tim Tolman -- will return for the 2008 season.
It marks the first time that the organization didn't make a change to the coaching staff since it moved to the nation's capital after the 2004 season. The Nationals have employed four bullpen and hitting coaches, three first-base and third-base coaches and two bench coaches.
St. Claire is the longest tenured coach on the Nationals staff, as he was named the Expos pitching coach in 2003. St. Claire entered 2007 with 38 pitchers on Washington's Spring Training roster and only one spot in the starting rotation accounted for, yet the team's 4.58 ERA was nearly a half-run better than Washington's 2006 mark of 5.03.
Harris, 42, replaced Mitchell Page as the hitting coach on May 11. In 118 games, the Nationals hit .264 and averaged 4.5 runs per game under Harris. Before Harris' arrival, the Nationals averaged 2.9 runs per contest.
Corrales, one of the best bench coaches in baseball history, is credited for tutoring catcher Jesus Flores, who had a productive rookie season.
Tolman will continue to be the third base coach, while Morales will be the first base coach and outfield instructor. Aponte will begin his second season as the team's bullpen coach.
"It's nice to have everyone back," manager Manny Acta said via e-mail. "They were very instrumental in keeping our team competitive. We are on the same page and that helps with the continuity toward the future. I feel that our kids responded very well to these guys' instructions and trusted them during our rough times and good times."
In other news, infielder D'Angelo Jimenez, outfielder Alex Escobar and left-hander Micah Bowie have elected to become free agents instead of accepting assignments to Triple-A Columbus. All three were outrighted to Columbus recently.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.