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Sunday, July 01, 2012

Apodaca re-assigned, named special assistant

Old news, but I think it needs to be noted as a (weird, unexplained) development in the (also weird) four-man rotation experiment.

Rockies pitching coach Bob Apodaca—a key creator of the team’s unusual four-man rotation—was reassigned at his request on Tuesday.

The Rockies named bullpen coach Jim Wright and Triple-A Colorado Springs pitching coach Bo McLaughlin as co-pitching coaches, with McLaughlin in charge of starters and Wright in charge of relievers. Apodaca was named special assistant to general manager Dan O’Dowd, and will be responsible for special pitching assignments.

Apodaca, 62, was the Rockies’ pitching coach since 2003, the first full year that former skipper Clint Hurdle managed the team. He remained pitching coach when Jim Tracy replaced Hurdle during the 2009 season. Apodaca met with the team before Tuesday night’s game against the Nationals at Coors Field, but was not available to the media…

“I have a great relationship with Bob so, no, I wasn’t surprised, as this is a difficult and challenging position,” O’Dowd said. “In 10 years, Bob has been the ultimate professional. I have some ideas for Bob the rest of the year. We really didn’t get into things beyond that.”

Tracy, however, said he was caught off-guard.

“He’s the proud man that he is,” Tracy said. “It was quite an emotional discussion in my office. He did not want the interpretation to be as though he was abandoning the ship, or anything like that. It was something that was extremely heartfelt, because I saw the way he reacted as he was describing that to me.

“I completely understand where he’s at. I know what stress and fatigue can do to a man. In the long run, this may end up doing Bobby a world of good. I really, truly understand in my heart that he is emotionally, physically and mentally eaten up right now, and he deserves a break.” ...

this year has brought mound misery. The Rockies’ pitching struggles are quantified by a 5.29 team ERA, which includes a 6.36 ERA for starters. The Rockies beefed up their offense, but the foundering of the pitching—especially the starters—has been a key cause of a 28-44 record going into Tuesday night.

The situation led the Rockies last Tuesday to go to an unusual starting pitching plan. Colorado is using a four-man rotation with a 75-pitch limit, as an extreme attempt to force the pitchers to attack the strike zone more effectively.

The concept has been talked about by analysts in the Rockies’ front office for years, but Apodaca was part of giving it a chance in actual competition.

“Bob and Jimmy Wright were probably the two biggest creators and supporters of the concept,” O’Dowd said. “That had nothing to do with his decision.” ...

“I was surprised,” Wright said. “We had been together 10 years, including the last four up here. We became very close. We had worked together, bounced things off of each other.

“Everybody’s got their own reasons. He’s been around a long time. He’s a good man. I think in some respects he felt, as someone who has pride in his work, he was letting people down. I don’t agree with that. But it takes a lot of guts to walk away.”

The District Attorney Posted: July 01, 2012 at 12:21 PM | 9 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: bob apodaca, rockies

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   1. KJOK Posted: July 01, 2012 at 06:28 PM (#4170854)
Sounds almost as if maybe the starters were rebelling/grumbling, but probably wouldn't go to Tracy directly, so Apodoca was taking their heat.

Good to see Bo McLaughlin finally coaching on the MLB level. He's been AA pitching coach, roving instructor, AAA ooach, and just about everything else pitching-related in the Rockies organization.

   2. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 01, 2012 at 08:41 PM (#4170910)
I don't think there was anything nefarious or conspiratorial going on here. The four-man rotation was a desperation move because the Rockies starting pitching was so terrible. When that didn't seem to improve anything, I think Apodaca just felt he had nothing left to contribute as a pitching coach, and was frustrated with how bad things were going, so he asked to be able to do something else for a change.

Apodaca seems to be well-regarded in the organization, and all in all, I think he did a good job as Rockies pitching coach, particularly in building a series of solid bullpens out of mostly spare parts.
   3. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: July 01, 2012 at 09:28 PM (#4170950)
Didn't he unilaterally demote himself immediately after Moscoso's 8-run, 5-out start last week? Maybe it was a cry for help to please please bring Pomeranz back to the big leagues.
   4. shoewizard Posted: July 02, 2012 at 03:28 AM (#4171066)
It's fun to say his name
   5. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: July 02, 2012 at 08:55 AM (#4171111)
I'm showing my age here but his name always reminds me of an old Del the Funky Homosapien song.
   6. The District Attorney Posted: July 02, 2012 at 12:27 PM (#4171315)
I'm showing my age here but his name always reminds me of an old Del the Funky Homosapien song.
Originally from the Monkees, actually.

Good to see Bo McLaughlin finally coaching on the MLB level.
Co-coaching, which is another unusual experiment.

This whole ill-planned mess is presumably gonna make it much tougher to do a four-man rotation properly.
   7. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 02, 2012 at 01:16 PM (#4171380)

Sounds almost as if maybe the starters were rebelling/grumbling, but probably wouldn't go to Tracy directly, so Apodoca was taking their heat.


One other thing: The starters don't have nearly enough juice within the organization to get Apodaca fired. For one thing, they've been horrible, so they really don't have any grounds to complain about anything. For another, the starters in the four-man rotation have been:

Christian Friedrich, rookie
Alex White, rookie, now sent down to AAA
Josh Outman, just came over from Oakland in the off-season, has 31 lifetime starts, sucks
Jeff Francis, started the season in AAA with the Reds, has a rep as a nice, hard-working guy (he's Canadian)

Those guys can grumble all they want, and they're not going to get anyone higher than a batboy fired.
   8. Karl from NY Posted: July 02, 2012 at 03:38 PM (#4171507)
Apodaca ... will be responsible for special pitching assignments.

What does that mean? Does he train pitchers for barnstorming games? The HR derby? Knuckleballers? Is he going to install a Wildcat formation?
   9. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: July 02, 2012 at 03:45 PM (#4171514)
This whole ill-planned mess is presumably gonna make it much tougher to do a four-man rotation properly.

Like how Chad Fox and Grady Little in 2003 ruined the bullpen ace concept for decades. That still makes me mad.

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