It appears as though Pat Hentgen will be the Jays’ bullpen coach no longer. Citing “family reasons” as the… uh… reason, the 1996 Cy Young winner leaves the job after just a single year, and will be replaced by another ex-Jay, Pete Walker, according to a team release.
Surely this is yet another blow to Jays fans who, for some reason, give a shit.
I mean, obviously nothing against Hentgen, but I can’t imagine how anyone could feel the slightest bit wistful about not seeing him stride out to the bullpen after batting practice to go have a nice four hour sit on a folding chair in the bullpen. We haven’t the first fucking clue what Hentgen brought to the role– which isn’t to imply he was bad at it or anything, it’s just, I don’t know how you could react to his departure with anything but a shrug of the shoulders.
And Walker’s arrival? Actually, I think it’s a pretty good thing. He was the pitching coach for New Hampshire this summer, and was the Jays’ pitching coach for rehabilitating players the two years prior to that.
The fact that Bruce Walton moved from bullpen coach to pitching coach when Brad Arnsberg left tells us that the position is hardly an afterthought, and Walker’s rise through the organization’s coaching ranks and the fact that he was entrusted with some of their most important young arms augers well.
Hentgen will continue to work for the Jays in some capacity, as a Special Assistant to the Organization… which presumably means he’ll be able to help out where he can, instead of committing himself to a seven or eight month grind.