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10/31/07 Get To Know Your Nationals. Coaching Edition: Randy St. Claire

     Randy St. Claire and the Montreal/Washington franchise have a long history which stretches back to the year 1978 when the Expos first signed the then eighteen year old right-handed pitcher out of Glens Falls, New York.

     St. Claire pitched four full seasons with the Expos, starting in 1984, and compiled a (10-6) record as a reliever. After a trade to Cincinnati, St. Claire bounced around the League (Minnesota, Atlanta, and Toronto) until 1994, when according to St. Claire himself in a Washington Post article by Barry Svrluga entitled "Nats St. Claire knows task at hand," he determined:

     "'I had to be a self-evaluator...I had to know: 'You know what? You can't do this anymore. Your skills are deteriorating. What do you do now?'"

     What St. Claire decided, was that even if he could no longer compete at the Major League level, he knew how to pitch. The son of former pro Ebba St. Claire, who started his own Major League career at the age of twenty-nine as a catcher with the Boston Braves in 1951, had himself actually joined the Braves, after a nine-year Minor League career, as, "...part of a minor league working agreement so that he could tutor young pitchers in the Braves organization," according to the elder St. Claire's Wikipedia.org profile.

     Randy St. Claire followed his father's example, starting as a Minor League Pitching Coach, and eventually working his way up and rejoining the Montreal franchise that had originally drafted him as the Expos Pitching Coach in 2003.

     Randy St. Claire survived the move to Washington from Montreal as a part of Frank Robinson's coaching staff, and remained with the team after Robinson's departure, as new Manager Manny Acta retained the well-traveled(to the mound and back...) mentor for the Nationals pitchers.

     Credited with reviving the careers of Esteban Loaiza, Hector Carrasco and John Patterson, Randy St. Claire has overseen the development of a constantly changing collection of young pitchers and reclamation projects, and has always managed to keep things respectable with a simple approach, as he told Nationals mlb.com writer Bill Ladson in an article from washington.nationals.mlb.com on January 4, 2006:

     "Whomever I have, I will do my very best with the people that
      I have," St. Claire said. "I will try to get the most out of
      them."

     With a bullpen consisting of Chad Cordero, Jon Rauch, Luis Ayala, John Albaladejo, Saul Rivera, Chris Schroder, and Billy Traber, whatever collection of starting arms is assembled for St. Claire to work with in '08, the most they should have to provide will be quality starts for the Nationals to hold leads or hold close and finally have a good chance of competing with the rest of the National League. Now the American League? Well that's a whole 'nother story...Did you see what those Red Sox did to those Rockies?...Scary...(you know for Halloween!)

*Randy St. Claire links:*

Barry Svrluga's Washington Post article:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/25/AR2007022501373.html

Ebba St. Claire's Wikipedia.org profile:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebba_St._Claire

Ebba St. Claire's stats at thebaseballcube.com:

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/S/Ebba-St.-Claire.shtml

Bill Ladson's Washington.nationals.mlb.com article:

http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20060104&content_id=1290987&vkey=ne ws_was&fext=.jsp&c_id=was

Randy St. Claire's Player stats at baseballreference.com:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/s/st.clra01.shtml