Casey Kelly shines in his major league debut

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Casey Kelly has had more advanced pub than a lot of rookies. He was a big-time draftee for the Red Sox and famously split time as a shortstop and a pitcher in the minors.  Then he was part of the Adrian Gonzalez trade v.1.

On a personal note, the girlfriend lives in San Antonio, has season tickets to the Double-A Missions and watched him pitch a bunch last year during which time she decided he was one of her baseball boyfriends, so I get an earful about him. I showed her, though: I saw him in his skivvies in the clubhouse during spring training back in March and won’t tell her how he looked.

Anyway, because of all of that, his major league debut last night was notable. A debut I would have missed but for the fact that the girlfriend reminded me of it — which is awful on my part considering he was pitching against the Braves and I wasn’t planning on watching them — but I tuned in anyway.  And the kid was impressive.

I wasn’t a dominating start. He only struck out four and was only touching the low 90s when scouting reports say he’s capable of much more. But he was nonetheless impressive. His curve looked great, fooling many a Brave batter. He held Atlanta scoreless for six innings before the bullpen took the shutout the rest of the way. Thank God he didn’t strike out 12 or something or else the girlfriend would be writing mash notes to him all morning.

Anyway, just another thing going right for the Padres these days.

Yankees to hire Josh Bard as their new bench coach

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Aaron Boone has no experience as a coach or a manager at any level. As such, some have speculated that he’d hire a more seasoned hand as his bench coach as he begins his first season as Yankees manager. Someone like, say, Eric Wedge, who was a candidate for the job Boone got and who once managed Boone in Cleveland.

Nope. According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, he’s going with Josh Bard.

Bard, 39, was a teammate of Boone’s with the Indians in 2005. He’s not without coaching experience, having spent the last two seasons as the Dodgers’ bullpen coach, but he’s not that Gene Lamont/Don Zimmer-type we often see in the bench coach role.

Which is fine because different managers want different things from their bench coach. Some are strategy guys, helping with in-game decision making. Others are relationship guys who help managers understand all of the dynamics of the clubhouse while they’re worrying more about lineups and stuff. Others are trust guys, who can serve as the manager’s sounding board, among other things. Some are combinations of all of these things. As Feinsand notes in his story, Boone said at his introductory press conference that he’s looking for this:

“I want smart sitting next to me. I want confidence sitting next to me. I want a guy who can walk out into that room and as I talk about relationships I expect to have with my players, I expect that even to be more so with my coaching staff. Whether that is a guy with all kinds of experience or little experience. I am not concerned about that.”