New Brewers coach may get some new arms to work with

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009
— Rick Peterson doesn’t have a clause in his contract as the Milwaukee Brewers’ new pitching coach that stipulates he’ll get at least two new starters for 2010.

But Peterson got the impression during his interview with general manager Doug Melvin that help is coming.

“I know in the interview that Doug made it clear that was a focus of the organization,” said Peterson, whose two-year deal was officially announced by the club Tuesday.

In the meantime, Peterson will go to work trying to improve the pitchers on hand.

“This is what I’ve done my entire life—maximize performance and reduce the risk of injury,” said Peterson. “You’re looking for incremental ways to help each individual be more effective.

“The Brewers won 80 games this year. If we get the pitching turned around and the rest of the team does what it did, this team can win. If you just get (the rotation) to the middle of the pack, you’re probably looking at 90 wins.”

The Brewers’ starting rotation compiled a 5.37 earned run average in 2009, ranking last in the National League. The overall team ERA was next-to-last at 4.83. Pitching coach Bill Castro paid the price by getting fired Aug. 12, with Class AAA Nashville’s Chris Bosio replacing him on an interim basis.

In addition to naming Peterson, the Brewers said bullpen coach Stan Kyles would return in that role. Kyles and Bosio were not offered contracts immediately after the season, but Melvin said Bosio had been offered the chance to stay in the organization, probably as major-league advance scout.

Peterson said he’ll be able to hit the ground running, thanks to previous associations with manager Ken Macha, bench coach Willie Randolph and third base coach Brad Fischer. He worked with Macha in Boston’s farm system in the late ’90s and served as his pitching coach in Oakland in 2003. There, Peterson worked closely with Fisher, who was Oakland’s bullpen coach.

Peterson then moved on to the New York Mets to serve as pitching coach, including the 3½ seasons in which Randolph managed that club. As to why Peterson would leave a very successful situation in Oakland, with one of the best pitching staffs in the league, the New Jersey native said he needed to get back East for family considerations.

Peterson was dismissed along with Randolph in June 2008 and was not affiliated with a club this year.

The time off allowed him to launch 3pSports, an enterprise that focuses on biomechanics and how to keep pitchers healthy and at peak performance.

When Peterson interviewed with Melvin and assistant GM Gord Ash and learned they were believers in that system, he knew Milwaukee was the place for him. Ash, who oversees the Brewers’ medical program, was Toronto’s general manager in 1996 when Peterson was that club’s minor-league pitching coordinator.

“This is not about me,” said Peterson, who met with Melvin and Ash at an airport hotel in Newark, N.J. “This is about the program. This organization is totally aligned with that. That’s what made this a fit from the start.

“I was so excited after talking with Doug and Gord. You talk about synergy. You talk about philosophies being aligned. I really believe we can do big things.”

Melvin and Ash interviewed three candidates—Peterson, Bosio and Bryan Price, who recently accepted the same position with Cincinnati. Melvin admitted that Bosio was thrust into a difficult situation after Castro was dismissed but said he felt a complete change was needed.

“There was some improvement and I’m sure he would like the chance to work with the guys from the start,” said Melvin. “It’s always tough being in an interim position.

“We didn’t have a dramatic change. We told Chris it wasn’t his fault. Injuries were a factor. We just wanted to make a change.”

Last updated: 11:41 am Thursday, December 13, 2012

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