Quitting on the Nationals in the middle of the season made it tough for Jim Riggleman to land another prominent big-league job, but the Reds have hired the 59-year-old former Nationals, Padres, Cubs, and Mariners manager to be their new Double-A skipper.
Nothing is official yet, but Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports that Riggleman will manage the Pensacola Blue Wahoos of the Southern League, noting that he and Reds general manager Walt Jocketty “have a history together” from their time in the Cardinals’ organization.
Riggleman worked as a scout for the Giants following his resignation, which was due to contract squabbles and came with the Nationals having won 11 of 12 games. Davey Johnson, who replaced Riggleman in Washington and finished the season with a 40-43 record, was given the full-time gig last month.
Double-A is quite a step down for Riggleman, but a good year in the Southern League should put him in position to get back to the majors in 2013 as, say, a bench coach.
Nationals starter Max Scherzer bunted a ball into his face during batting practice on Tuesday, breaking his nose in the process. He ended up with a gnarly looking shiner around his right eye, making him appear a bit like Terminator. Scherzer still took the ball to start the second game of Wednesday night’s doubleheader against the Phillies.
Despite the injury, Scherzer was incredibly effective, limiting the Phillies to four hits and two walks across seven shutout innings, striking out 10 batters in the process. He might even have had some extra adrenaline going, as he averaged 96.2 MPH on his fastball, his highest average fastball velocity in a game since September 2012, per MLB.com’s Jamal Collier. The Nationals provided Scherzer with just one run of support, coming on a Brian Dozier solo home run off of Jake Arrieta in the second inning, but it was enough.
Wander Suero worked a scoreless top of the eighth with a pair of strikeouts. Victor Robles added a solo homer off of Pat Neshek in the bottom half. Closer Sean Doolittle took over in the ninth, working a 1-2-3 frame to give the Nats their 2-0 victory.
Over his last six starts, Scherzer now has a 0.88 ERA with a 59/8 K/BB ratio across 41 innings. He has gone six innings, struck out at least nine batters, and held the opposition to two or fewer runs in each of those six starts.