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March 21, 2006

Posted by atlanticleaguenews in Uncategorized.
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Ducks Name New Pitching Coach: The Long Island Ducks have filled the final piece of the Atlantic League coaching staff puzzle, signing MLB vet Dick Such as their new pitching coach. Such replaces Dave LaPoint, who went on to become manager of the Bridgeport Bluefish.

Such has…well, such an impressive resume. After playing in the big leagues with the Washington Senators in 1970 (I finally get to interview a Washington Senator. Yes!) Such eventually turned to coaching, and got his start with the Texas Rangers. After a three year stint there, he was the Minnesota Twins pitching coach from 1985 to 2001.

The Twins won the World Series in 1987 and 1991, and Such had pitchers win a World Series MVP (Jack Morris) and a Cy Young Award (Frank Viola) under his tutelage. Furthermore, Such was the American League pitching coach in the 1988 and 1992 All-Star Games and was the pitching coach for the 1996 team of big league All-Stars that toured Japan.

I’m excited about this signing. Such brings a ton of big league coaching experience to the Atlantic League, and only adds to the legitimacy of the league. Not only am I pumped about getting to add a Washington Senator to my list, I’m excited about the possibilities this entails for the Ducks organization. You might have noticed that they haven’t signed any pitchers yet, and the addition of someone with 20 years of coaching at the big league level is bound to bring in some pretty big name guys.

However, having done some research on Such’s tenure with the Twins, it appears that the end of it was not a popular one. According to a 2002 Minneapolis/St. Paul Citypages article, not all of his pitchers were pleased with his performance:

A few years ago, on a return trip to the Dome, one ex-Twin reminisced off the record about his time in the Such stable. “He wasn’t a lot of help,” the pitcher recalled. “He’d come out to the mound when you were getting rocked and say, ‘Throw strikes, you’re pissing off the manager.’ That was more or less what you got every time.”

So I’ll be curious to see what kind of job Such can do with the big names the Ducks are sure to be able to get for him. A lot of guys at this level don’t need coaching, or at least they don’t think they do, and then there are guys who need a lot of work. I’ll be more interested to see what he does with the guys who’ve struggled at the lower level of the minors than I will be to see what he does with a guy like Bill Pulsipher or Lance Davis or any of the other guys rumored to be headed back to the flock.

Bichette Named Nationals Hitting Instructor: One of the biggest names the Atlantic League’s ever had, Dante Bichette, was named as a roving minor league hitting instrcutor by the Washington Nationals. Bichette played for the Pride in 2004.

In other Pride news, they signed former AL player Mike Piercy and Brockton signed Brad Guy.

Phillies Reassign Bergeron: The Philadelphia Phillies reassigned former Nashua Pride OF Peter Bergeron to their minor league camp. Bergeron, who spent a short time with Nashua last season before being picked up by the Orioles organization, was impressive this spring. At the time of his re-assignment, Bergeron was hitting .409 with three RBI and one stolen base. He ended up going 9-for-22 in 12 games and was second on the team in batting average.

I’d assume that he’d be headed over to Lackawanna County Stadium in Moosic, Pennsylvania – home of the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Red Barons, the Phillies’ Triple-A affiliate. I hope he likes playing on Astroturf is all I can say…

For an interview with Bergeron from last season, click here. – Mike Ashmore

Owens Gets In Big League Game: Former Somerset Patriots outfielder Jeremy Owens has appeared in two big league Spring Training games with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays this season. He’s gone 0-for-2 with no strikeouts, so that’s a positive. – Scott Stanchak.

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