D.C. GM Mike Rizzo announced today that former LA Dodgers' Bench Coach Bob Schaefer had joined the Nationals as a Special Assistant to the General Manager after serving as Joe Torre's Bench Coach for the last three seasons in Los Angeles. Schaefer stepped down after Don Mattingly replaced Torre on the Dodgers' bench, telling ESPNLosAngeles.com's Tony Jackson in an article entitled, "Bob Schaefer won't return to Dodgers", that he thought he was, "...probably going to investigate some other opportunities...I have had three good years here, and these guys need some other coaches."
According to the Nats' Press Release on the hiring, "Schaefer, 66, adds 30 seasons of professional experience to Mike Rizzo’s brain trust,":
"Schaefer has spent much of the last twenty seasons in either a special assistant to the GM role (2006 Braves under John Schuerholz, 1999-2001 Orioles) or as a big league bench coach (2008-10 Dodgers; 2007 Athletics; 1991, 2002-05 Royals). He twice skippered Kansas City in an interim capacity (1991, 2005)."
• Strasburg = All Star:
The Washington Nationals announced in another press release this afternoon that '09 No.1 overall pick, pitcher Stephen Strasburg, had become the third Washington Nationals' player (along with Ryan Zimmerman in '06 and John Lannan in '08) in the team's six-year existence in the nation's capital to earn the distinction of being named part of the 52nd Annual Topps Major League Rookie All-Star Team as the top right-handed pitcher to debut in 2010.
Strasburg, whose season ended abruptly in August after just 12 Major League starts, was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery to repair what was described as a "significant tear" of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. In the short time he was with the Nats, however, Strasburg almost exceeded the ridiculously high expectations that had been placed upon the 22-year-old right-hander. (5-3) in 12 GS and 68.0 IP with a 2.91 ERA (2.08 FIP), 17 BB (2.25 BB/9) and 92 K's (12.18 K/9), Strasburg, according to the Nats' Press Release on the honor bestowed upon the pitcher by Topps, "led all major league starting pitchers with a 33.6 strikeout percentage (92 of 274 batters faced) in 2010," and, "...would have led all big league starting pitchers (in K/9) had he accumulated enough innings to qualify..."
When I had the chance to ask Strasburg a quick question during a late-season teleconference with the D.C. Press Corps if the injury he'd suffered had overshadowed what he was able to accomplish in his rookie campaign, the right-hander responded, "You guys can decide that,":
"I'm chalking it up as a great season, it's unfortunate for this to happen, but I went up there, I stirred up the baseball world well enough that it had more people becoming Nats fans and I know they're going to be there when I come back in a year, so I'm not too worried about it and I'm going to work as hard as I possibly can to get back out there and show everybody what I have to bring to the table."