Archive for the ‘ Coaching ’ Category

Video: Bench coach Bob Geren rides his bike to work

Dodger bench coach Bob Geren rides his bike from Pasadena to Dodger Stadium (and then in Dodger Stadium) before almost every home game. SportsNet LA has a fun time telling the story in the video above.

It’s also a good reminder that, if you can handle the final uphill climb, cycling is one of the alternate means of transportation to the ballpark.

— Jon Weisman

Steve Cilladi earned every bit of his big-league dream

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Steve Cilladi (82) during Spring Training in 2015 (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Jon Weisman

Steve Cilladi’s lifetime professional statistics read like the baseball version of Oliver Twist.

Forty games. Seventeen hits. Two homers, one triple, no doubles. Six walks, three times hit by pitch. Thirty-five strikeouts.

That’s what the ledger shows for five seasons. Please, sir. I want some more.

But Cilladi is no unfortunate, and he would rebel at the very thought of it. He is a man of means, ambition and perspective — Dodger bullpen catcher today, who knows what tomorrow?

“To me, negativity is an absolute distraction,” Cilladi said. “The time that’s used to complain or mope or whatever else, can be time better utilized for the person next to you or for you, and I really take that to heart. Why am I going to complain? If I have a negative thought in my head, I’m going to turn that into something that can either be productive for myself or that’s going to help the person next to me, and I think that’s something we need more of.”

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Hyers education: Hitting 101

Dodgers assistant hitting coach Tim Hyers, right, works with Andre Ether. Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Dodgers assistant hitting coach Tim Hyers, right, works with Andre Ether. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Angels at Dodgers, 12:05 p.m.
Joc Pederson, CF
Corey Seager, SS
Yasiel Puig, RF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Austin Barnes, C
Rob Segedin, 3B
Shawn Zarraga, DH
Corey Brown, LF
Micah Johnson, 2B
(Zach Lee, P)

By Cary Osborne

Prior to the 2015 baseball season, as Dodger first-base coach George Lombard tells the story, Dave Roberts gave him a call.

Roberts was the bench coach for the San Diego Padres, and he inquired about a friend of Lombard’s for a possible coaching position with the big league club.

The friend was former big-leaguer Tim Hyers, who had coached with Lombard in the Boston minor-league system.

Hyers ended up interviewing with the Padres, but wasn’t hired.

Roberts didn’t forget Hyers, though. He called Lombard again over the past offseason.

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Eager to go from Seager to Seager

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By Cary Osborne

The Dodgers’ new third base coach and infield coordinator Chis Woodward has gone from Seager to Seager and in the transition, got some advance word from Seager on Seager.

Woodward spent the last three years in the Seattle Mariners organization and the last two full seasons on the Major League staff, coaching infielders both seasons and manning the first-base coach’s box in 2015 as well.

As anybody knows from Little League on up, the cardinal sin is for a coach to play favorites, but the hard-nosed former big-league infielder couldn’t help but take a liking to Kyle Seager, the Mariners’ All-Star third baseman and older brother of Dodger shortstop Corey Seager. Woodward knew from talking to Kyle that he’ll probably have a similar feeling about Corey.

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Dodger third-base coach Chris Woodward will make you believe

NEW TAIPEI CITY, TAIWAN - NOVEMBER 14: Chris Woodward coach of Team New Zealand hits grounders during an infield drill during the workout day for the 2013 World Baseball Classic Qualifier at Xinzhuang Stadium on November 14, 2012 in New Taipei City, Taiwan. (Photo by Yuki Taguchi/WBCI/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Chris Woodward, center, hits grounders during an infield drill during the workout day for the 2013 World Baseball Classic Qualifier at Xinzhuang Stadium on November 14, 2012 in New Taipei City, Taiwan. (Yuki Taguchi/WBCI/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

By Cary Osborne

Baseball is fourth in line in New Zealand.

There’s rugby, then cricket, then fast-pitch softball.

This, according to new Dodger third base coach and manager of New Zealand’s World Baseball Classic qualifier team Chris Woodward.

New Zealand, a country with 4,000 baseball players, coaches and officials total, will send a team to play in a 2017 World Baseball Classic qualifier pool in Sydney beginning February 11. It has to be said that some of the players on the team weren’t actually born in New Zealand but have some sort of family relationship to the nation and professional baseball experience.

However, natives who are still very much learning the game also shape the team. And that learning goes beyond how to hit a 90 mph fastball or a ball that breaks.

The native Kiwi baseball players, Woodward has found, tend to approach the game with less sense of urgency and less intensity.

“The biggest thing for me is the fight the ballplayer has,” Woodward said. “They look at it from a softball standpoint, where it’s more like a recreational kind of, ‘Let’s go have a few beers after the game.’ The competition part was kind of lacking. That’s one thing I want to create in the ballplayers. It’s an uphill fight, but if you do it right you can establish baseball the right way.”

Yet the New Zealand WBC team has at least one fighter — its defiant manager, who doesn’t care how little others expect of his team. The fight will tell you a lot about what the Dodgers have in their new third-base coach.

“I’m definitely going there with intention of qualifying,” Woodward said. “Why wouldn’t you? I’ve played this game too long. I’ve seen a lot of teams I was on where we were either better than or we weren’t better than (the other team), and we flipped the script or they flipped it on us. It’s a matter of attitude. If these guys believe it, shoot, then there’s no reason we can’t qualify.”

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Dodger coach and Mexico’s own Juan Castro’s understated value

GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 17: Juan Castro of the Los Angeles Dodgers poses for a portrait during spring training photo day at Camelback Ranch on February 17, 2013 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

By Cary Osborne

Mike Brito’s legend as a scout grew from his hand in finding and signing Fernando Valenzuela. And as we all know, Valenzuela’s impact on the Dodger franchise is beyond measure. Valenzuela is the Dodgers’ strongest and most important link to Mexico and the Mexican community.

The second, it could be said is Juan Castro.

Yes, Castro was mostly a utility player in his eight seasons (1995-99, 2009, 2010-11) as a Dodger Major Leaguer. But there is no underrating his ability with the glove, his leadership and teaching abilities and his tenacity. Only four Mexican-born players in Major League history — Aurelio Rodriguez, Vinny Castilla, Jorge Orta and Bobby Avila — appeared in more games than Castro’s 1,103.

This is Castro’s 17th season in the Dodger organization. After the last two seasons as minor league infield coordinator and the three previous as assistant to the general manager, he is on the Major League staff for the first time as the newly created quality assurance coach. He will be coaching from upstairs during games and will be on the field before them.

It appears that his value to the organization has reached another height. Castro is the only native Spanish speaker on the Dodger staff, meaning his ability to communicate with Spanish-speaking players and his ability to relay information makes him essential.

So what Brito found 25 years ago, whether he knew it at the time or not, has become more than a utility player — he’s become the Dodgers’ indispensable utility man.

“The Dodgers are the reason why I came to the States to have an opportunity to play baseball. They gave me that opportunity to come here to the States and try my dream,” Castro said. “If I can describe the Dodgers, it would be (the word) ‘opportunity.’ They helped me to become who I became as a player and a person.”

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New Dodger hitting coach Turner Ward knows his lumber

Dodger hitting coach Turner Ward. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Dodger hitting coach Turner Ward. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

By Cary Osborne

Maybe it’s been since new Dodgers hitting coach Turner Ward retired as a player that he’s done his best work with wood.

Ward said it almost like it’s a confession: “I was a .250 hitter,” he chuckled. “I had to put in so much work. I really feel like I shouldn’t have played as long as I did. I really used my mind to get to the next level.”

Ward played parts of 12 Major League seasons. And he’s selling himself short. He was a .251 hitter.

But after he retired from baseball in 2001, Ward found new life — building homes and building confidence in professional hitters.

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Dodger first-base coach George Lombard is a most interesting man

George Lombard poses during Photo Day on February 24, 2008 at Holman Stadium in Vero Beach, Florida. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

George Lombard at Spring Training in 2008 in Vero Beach. (Elsa/Getty Images)

By Cary Osborne

Fifteen minutes into a conversation with Dodgers new first base coach George Lombard, you might think to yourself that this guy should be doing a beer commercial and telling you to stay thirsty.

It’s hard to choose what’s the most interesting thing about him.

Maybe it’s the fact that he is the grandson of Harvard Business School’s former 41-year senior dean and professor of human relations George Francis Fabyan Lombard.

Or his mother, a white woman named Posy, was a civil rights activist who marched alongside Martin Luther King Jr.

Or maybe it’s that he’s traced his family tree back to a pilgrim who came to America on the Mayflower.

Lombard is so interesting that in 2005, at the time when he was a 29-year-old outfielder in the Red Sox organization, Peter Gammons mentioned him during his Hall of Fame acceptance speech.

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The steady voice of Rick Honeycutt

Jon SooHoo/ Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/ Los Angeles Dodgers

From the pages of Dodger Insider magazine …

By Cary Osborne

Rick Honeycutt had been the Dodger minor league pitching coordinator from 2002 to 2005, but he was only two years into the job as the team’s Major League pitching coach when the Dodgers hired Joe Torre to manage the team.

Changes would be coming — namely Larry Bowa as the new third base coach and Bob Schaefer as bench coach — and it was reasonable to wonder if a new pitching coach would soon be on the scene as well.

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Dave Roberts talks bullpen management, state of the staff

Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt visits Carlos Frias at the mound during a May 24 game. (Jill Weisleder/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt visits Carlos Frias at the mound during a May 24 game. (Jill Weisleder/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Jon Weisman

As a rookie manager who neither pitched nor caught in his big-league career, Dave Roberts will be scrutinized for every move he makes with the Dodger pitching staff. (I know — I could have just begun, “As a manager.”)

Today, Roberts spoke about his approach will be, and how he will use pitching coach Rick Honeycutt and bench coach Bob Geren as resources.

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