As the Nationals near the end of the season with one of the least productive offenses in the league, Manager Davey Johnson backed hitting coach Rick Eckstein and implied he wants him to return next season.
“Rick Eckstein, I think he’s one of the best hitting coaches in baseball,” Johnson said. “He’s a hard worker. He’s very detail-oriented. I agree with his philosophy, and I consider that I know a lot about hitting and I know a lot about teaching hitting. He’s certainly one of the best if not the best in baseball today. I will vouch for him to the nth degree.”
The Nationals ranks 27th in the majors in runs scored (519), 27th in batting average (.242), 25th in on-base percentage (.309) and 22nd in slugging percentage (.382). The Nationals have also struck out 1,103 times, second most in the majors.
Since Johnson arrived, he has worked individually with hitters, even throwing them batting practice at times. He said he has reinforced the message Eckstein gives hitters.
“I work closely with him,” Johnson said. “We have conversations about every hitter in the lineup. The job for a manager and all my hitting coaches over the years is when he is not getting his message across, I come in and maybe say it a different way but I’m saying the same thing. I love Rick Eckstein. I think he’s doing an outstanding job and as far as I’m concerned he’s got a great future.”