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10/09/09 7:16 PM EST
Peterson eyes coaching gig with Crew
Pitching coach has strong ties to Milwaukee's staff
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
MILWAUKEE -- Rick Peterson honored the code of silence imposed by Brewers general manager Doug Melvin and declined to say whether he had interviewed to be Milwaukee's next pitching coach. But Peterson didn't hide his strong interest in the job. "After taking this year off to recharge my batteries a little bit, my passion to get back on the field is unbelievable," Peterson said via telephone Friday. "It's what I've done my whole life, and Milwaukee is at the very top of my list," he said. "It's a very intriguing place to be because I think Milwaukee could win if the pitching gets turned around. That's pretty much what I do best. I think it's a place that would be a mutual fit." Peterson, 54, is the only candidate so far linked to the Brewers in published reports, including one on Friday that said he had already formally interviewed. Melvin has already spoken to at least two candidates but declined this week to name them. The search will likely be brief. Melvin said he wants to hire a pitching coach before the end of the month so that person could participate in offseason planning. Peterson is an obvious candidate because of his ties to Brewers manager Ken Macha and third-base coach Brad Fischer from Oakland, where Macha was the bench coach and then the manager, and Fischer worked extensively with Peterson as the A's bullpen coach. Peterson's working relationship with Macha actually dates back to 1997, when Macha managed Double-A Trenton in the Red Sox chain and Peterson was his pitching coach for a half-season. After the 2003 season, Peterson was hired away from Oakland by the Mets. He remained as pitching coach when Willie Randolph was hired to manage the team for 2005. Randolph is now the Brewers' bench coach. Peterson said he had "strong relationships" with all three men. "He might be the most thorough coach I've ever been around," said Macha. "He's prepared in all aspects of the game. He watches more film. He does more computer study. He has a program for these pitchers for long toss, balance, biomechanics. He's done it all. He's as prepared as anybody. I normally let my coaches go do their thing, and I let him do his thing." Peterson spent his year out of the coaching ranks, launching a business, 3pSports.com, with surgeon Dr. James Andrews and former pitchers Al Leiter and Tom Glavine, among others. The company offers biomechanical analysis and workout programs to pitchers designed to improve performance and limit the chance of injury. Peterson was introduced to the science of biomechanics in 1989, when he was the first coach to walk through the doors of Andrews' now famous American Sports Medicine Institute in Birmingham, Ala. He would return at least 80 times with professional pitchers, a list that eventually grew to include Oakland's "Big Three" of Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito. Andrews broke down deliveries and looked for ways to avoid injury. Peterson became a believer. So much so, that his 3pSports now offers the same program to Little Leaguers. "I'm looking for a home that embraces this philosophy and wants to implement it throughout the organization," Peterson said. "Milwaukee, from what I can gather, is a forward-looking organization. To me, it's really exciting because I think the philosophies fit." Asked earlier this week whether he had interviewed Peterson, Melvin declined to answer. "We don't want to say who we're talking to at this point, because there are a lot of other teams out there looking for coaches," Melvin said. "We don't want to advertise who we're looking at. The cat's out of the bag on one guy. I interviewed him on Monday and another team interviewed him the next day. That kind of thing happens, so you don't have to let the world know." If Peterson was in fact Melvin's interview subject on Monday, the Tuesday team might have been the Cincinnati Reds, who dismissed pitching coach Dick Pole on Oct. 2. A number of other teams could be in the market for a new pitching coach this winter but will likely complete managerial searches first. Macha's opinion will count in Melvin's choice. "Ken will have a say in it," Melvin said. "That's very important. Coaches and the manager live together for 200 days, so it's important that the manager has a comfort level and a say." The Brewers are looking for full-time replacements for interim pitching coach Chris Bosio and bullpen coach Stan Kyles. Neither were offered contracts to return for 2010, but Melvin said they would remain candidates for the vacancies. Peterson wasn't completely out of baseball in 2009. He was called upon by then-Rays left-hander Scott Kazmir to help escape a midseason slump, and Kazmir, who worked with Peterson in New York, posted a 1.73 ERA in six starts after a trade to the Angels. A few weeks later, Peterson got a call from Mulder, who was looking to rebuild his mechanics following shoulder surgery. "There's no doubt he has a track record," Macha said.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.