With two more days until the first pitchers and catchers workout, the Los Angeles Dodgers have made some changes. According to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, former Dodger pitcher, Orel Hershiser, will replace Greg Maddux as a pitching instructor for spring training.
Maddux had given up this position as a pitching instructor, so the Dodgers believed Hershiser would be a great pick. Maddux will joined his son, Chase, who is a sophomore pitcher at UNLV, as a volunteer pitching last summer and will continue to do so.
Los Angeles Dodgers pitching coach, Rick Honeycutt, has brought in Hall of Fame guest instructors including Maddux, Sandy Koufax, and now Hershiser.
“Nobody knows everything. Different guys try different things, maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t. But Clayton [Kershaw] helped [Hyun-Jin] Ryu with his slider. [Rich] Hill has helped [Ross] Stripling improve and helped [Julio] Urias with his grip. As long as they don’t get crazy and take away what made them successful. A lot of it is flat-ground work. We’d play catch and work on things. Maybe you’ll see Orel playing catch with them.”
Hershiser, 58, has four seasons of experience as a pitching coach while with the Texas Rangers. Also, the 2017 season will be his fourth season as a part of the Dodgers broadcast team.
“I still have my schedule doing the games and shows with Spectrum,” Hershiser said. “But they asked me to be in uniform, and it will be a lot of fun. I’m just there to help. Rich and I are good friends, we were catch buddies when we played, and we’re on the same page. We learned our pitching philosophy from Sandy and Dave Wallace.”
Some of the younger pitchers that Hershiser will possibly work with are:
- Brock Stewart
- Trevor Oaks
Hershiser then reflected on his journey through the minor league system and looking upon the veterans throughout the organization.
“I was thinking the other day what an amazing life it’s been,” said Hershiser. “I was a Minor Leaguer seeing Don [Drysdale] and Sandy, Campy [Roy Campanella] and Tommy [Lasorda] in Vero Beach. All the guys walking around camp. I remember being like, ‘Wow, that’s a lot of knowledge and history here.’ It made you proud to put the uniform on and go to work. I’m glad the organization is continuing it and letting me be part of it.”
He will need to put emphasis on what the pitchers need to be successful in the majors.
“The most important moment is when you reach into that ball bag and pull out the ball for the first time,” said Hershiser. “Make every throw count.”
The Dodgers first spring training game will be on Saturday, February 25 against the Chicago White Sox.