September 1, 2014

Lopes, Wallach Highlight 2011 Coaching Staff

The Dodgers officially announced their 2011 coaching staff and, as expected, all of the rumored names were there.  The big one was the return of Dodger legend Davey Lopes as first base coach, but this roster is packed full of major league experience – something that will be of great value to rookie manager Don Mattingly.

The rest of the 2011 staff includes bench coach Trey Hillman (the former manager of the Royals), hitting coach Jeff Pentland, third-base coach Tim Wallach (the Dodgers former Triple-A manager), pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, bullpen coach Ken Howell, hitting instructors Dave Hansen and Manny Mota and bullpen catchers Rob Flippo and Mike Borzello.

“I’m extremely excited about this coaching staff, which has a great combination of experience and youth that will create a positive environment for our team,” said Mattingly in a statement released by the Dodgers. “We’ve been able to reach back and bring in a number of coaches with Dodger roots and that’s one of the things that was very important to us. Not just the quality of the people and the experience they bring with them, but the history of this organization – where it came from and where we want to go.”

Dylan Hernandez has a nice story in today’s paper on the relationship between former Dodger playersDavey Lopes and Dave Stewart.  Apparently Lopes took Kemp’s agent (former Dodger pitcher Dave Stewart) under his wing when Stewart was a young player and the two are best friends today.  Stewart sees Lopes as someone who can do the same for Kemp, while elevating his overall performance with a special emphasis on base-running.  And given Kemp’s rocky relationship with some members of the 2010 coaching staff, the hiring of Lopes could be a critical piece to the puzzle with a needed shift in philosophy.

From Dylan Hernandez:

While Lopes talked about the importance of the Dodgers’ regaining the aura they used to have — “We had the expectation to win every single year,” he said — he said he understands the culture of the game is different than when he was a player.

Lopes said that back in his day, players had to adapt to the coaches.

“Now, it’s reverse,” he said. “You have to adapt to today’s player. You have to be able to communicate.”

Lopes said players benefit from having someone they can speak to on a regular basis. For him, that someone was manager Tom Lasorda.

“You need a guy to build you up,” Lopes said. “That helps elevate a player.”

At the very least, I’m excited to see Davey back in Dodger Blue, along with Dave Hansen and Tim Wallach!