The Rundown: Why are so many managers former catchers?

06/28/2014 4:46 PM

06/28/2014 4:46 PM

A couple of former catchers are calling the shots from the opposing dugouts during the Royals’ weekend series with the Angels.

The Royals’ Ned Yost and LA’s Mike Scioscia are among nine former big-league catchers who are managing in the major leagues. The others: John Gibbons, Blue Jays; Joe Girardi, Yankees; Mike Redmond, Marlins; Bruce Bochy, Giants; Bob Melvin, A’s; Brad Ausmus, Tigers; and Mike Matheny, Cardinals.

The position with the next highest number of managers? There are five ex-outfielders.

Why are catchers in high demand?

“I get that question a lot,” Matheny said. “I think a majority of that comes down to the fact that most catchers are wired to have their mind and eyes on multiple things, which can happen with other position players, but I don’t think it’s as common.

“It’s just part of the job description for a catcher, where you have to understand what’s going on with the pitching, what’s going on with certain defenses, what’s going on with the status of the team and understanding the game situation, not just my space right here.”

Yost agreed. He played for six seasons with the Brewers, Rangers and Expos. While in Milwaukee, he received guidance from eight-time All-Star Ted Simmons.

“He sat down and made me write out every cutoff and relay play that I could think of, starting with nobody on, base hit to left field,” Yost recalled. “Not only what do I do, but where every player goes. When I was done, I had a book 2 inches thick.

“Catchers stay in-tune to all that stuff, and we’re basically helping the manager manage the game from the field.”

Matheny said that having been a catcher doesn’t give him an edge.

“I think catchers have to think about more and have more experience than position players,” he said. “But does it make you better? I don’t think that’s the case.”

Yost disagreed, saying catchers have an inherent edge.

“They’re always the smartest players on the field,” Yost said with a smile.

Compiled with help of baseball reporters around the country

Three up

Since being used as Boston’s leadoff hitter on May 23, Brock Holt leads the majors with 47 hits.

Tim Lincecum no-hit the Padres on Wednesday for the second time in less than a calendar year. The other was last July 13.

Detroit’s Rick Porcello, whose career high for victories is 14, already has 10 this season.

Three down

In the month of June, Cleveland’s Nick Swisher is hitting .128, with a .128 on base percentage.

Phillies outfielder Domonic Brown, an All-Star a year ago, is hitting .217 with a .593 OBP.

The Rays entered Saturday having won just 18 of their last 50 games.

Statistically speaking

The Cubs and Rangers are the only teams in the bigs whose pitchers have yet to give up a home run on a 0-2 pitch this season.

The Cardinals’ Randy Choate faced only one batter in an appearance for the seventh time this season on Tuesday. He is the active leader with 209 such one-batter outings but has a ways to go to equal Mike Myers who registered 314 such appearances, the most of any major-leaguer over the last 100 years.

Jered Weaver, who threw a no-hitter against Minnesota in 2012, has given up one run in 24 innings while striking out 24 in his last three home meetings with the Twins.

You need to know

The Indians drew over 100,000 fans to a three-game series against the Tigers last weekend; the last time they reached that figure for a weekend series was Aug. 26-28, 2011, against the Royals.

Trent McCotter of SABR notes that San Diego’s Chase Headley joined Gene Baker (Cubs) as the only major-leaguers to break up two perfect games by being the lone base runner in each. Baker spoiled Don Newcombe’s attempt in 1955 and Von McDaniel’s in 1957, while Headley was the only man on base in Jonathan Sanchez’s no-hitter for the Giants in 2009 and in Tim Lincecum’s game Wednesday.

Before the three-game series between the Reds and Cubs that began Monday, the teams were tied in their all-time record at 1,036-1,036 and 17 ties since 1900. The Reds took two out of three from the Cubs to take a 1,038-1,037 lead in their long-running rivalry.

Rays’ bullpen catcher Scott Cursi saw his streak of working 2,326 consecutive games end when he was summoned for jury duty on June 18 when the Rays had a day game against the Orioles; Cursi began catching in the bullpen for the club 16 seasons ago.

Words of wisdom

“We definitely are plastered against the wall. We don’t even have our backs against the wall. We’ve got to turn this thing around quickly.”

| Rays manager Joe Maddon

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