Other than Porter, rest of staff returning next season
The Nationals announced their coaching staff for the 2013 season Wednesday, promoting Tony Tarasco to be the new first-base coach and retaining five other coaches.
Tarasco takes a spot vacated by former third-base coach Bo Porter, who accepted the managerial position with the Houston Astros in September and left the club at the end of the season. Trent Jewett, who coached first base for Washington in 2012, moves to third base in 2013. Bench coach Randy Knorr, pitching coach Steve McCatty, hitting coach Rick Eckstein and bullpen coach Jim Lett all return as well.
Tarasco, 41, was the outfield and baserunning coordinator for the Nats the last two seasons, Johnson preferred him for the major league coaching position over Triple-A Syracuse manager Tony Beasley because Tarasco's skills aligned better with Porter's former role on the staff.
"[Tarasco] is well respected in the organization," Johnson said during a Wednesday radio interview with ESPN 980 on "The Sports Fix" hosted by Kevin Sheehan and Examiner columnist Thom Loverro. "He's [coached] a lot of guys that we have on the ballclub coming up."
That includes young players like Bryce Harper, a former catcher who worked with Tarasco on adjusting to playing outfield during his first full pro season in the minors in 2011 and in spring training.
Tarasco played eight seasons in the majors, including two under Johnson with the Baltimore Orioles in 1996 and 1997. He was the organization's hitting coordinator for short-season A Vermont (2006-07) and then low-A Hagerstown (2008-10) before becoming a roving coordinator working with prospects at all levels of the Nats' minor league system.
Washington has maintained a relatively stable coaching staff in recent years. McCatty and Eckstein both enter their fifth seasons. Lett has been with the club since 2010. Knorr joined the major league coaching staff in 2011, and Jewett came aboard last season.
Both Jewett and Knorr have managed in the Nats' minor league system and are candidates to take over when Johnson, the 2012 National League manager of the year, retires after next season. Knorr has been with the organization since 2005. Jewett managed Single-A Potomac in 2009 and Triple-A Syracuse in 2010.