Hentgen always had a keen eye for young talent. And recycled jokes.
According to an official release from the club, the Jays have named former Cy Young winner Pat Hentgen as their bullpen coach for 2013. Hentgen returns to the role that he held in 2011, which he left after one season, citing “family reasons,” as I explained in a post 13 months ago, calling it “yet another blow to Jays fans who, for some reason, give a shit.”
“I mean, obviously nothing against Hentgen,” I said at the time, “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.”
I kinda feel the same way about the move today. Like, it’s cool that Hentgen will be there, I guess– I’m sure he has some kind of experience to offer, but fuck if I know what it is.
Though, to continue ripping myself off, I added this last year about Pete Walker– who has now, indeed, moved up to pitching coach– much of which applies to Hentgen now, I think:
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.
Obviously the fact that Hentgen has remained in the organization suggests that they view him highly– he even filled in as bullpen coach back in May, when Pete Walker had to leave the club due to a family medical situation, and following Hentgen’s visit to Lansing, where he came back raving about the trio of fantastic pitchers the Jays have there.
I can’t find the source, but I recall reading– or perhaps hearing on the radio– someone who said Hentgen was reluctant to take the job, because he would much prefer to work with starters, and felt it was more his area of expertise [Update: Reader @EthanDR has the link, from North of the Border]. I get that, so… sure, maybe it’s a coup for the Jays to have managed to get him out on the road with them once again. *shrugs*
Shi Davidi, it should be noted, reported this at Sportsnet last week, suggesting that it was a done deal, “barring an unforeseen obstacle.”