John McLaren, who took over for Jim Riggleman on a short-term interim basis Friday night after serving as his bench since the start of 2010, will be reassigned to a front-office scouting position after managing Sunday’s game, General Manager Mike Rizzo said.
McLaren at one point considered leaving the organization altogether out of loyalthy to Riggleman, who resigned suddenly in a contract dispute Thursday. Rizzo shared a long conversation with McLaren, and they decided he would leave the coaching staff but remain with the Nationals.
“It was kind of a mutual decision,” Rizzo said. “He had an allegiance to Jim Riggleman and had some thoughts about really wanting to get out of the uniform and to trying something different.”
The Nationals have not chosen a new bench coach to serve under new manager Davey Johnson. Coach Trent Jewett and front office advisor Pat Corrales, who served as Manny Acta’s bench coach, are two possibilities.
“We will fill it internally in the short-term,” Rizzo said. “And then we’ll make a longer term determination when Davey gets on board and when he has a chance to talk to everybody.”
McLaren was well-liked in the Nationals clubhouse. Several players joked with him today about his performance Friday night, when he went ballistic arguing an overturned call at first base.
“It’s disappointing,” shortstop Ian Desmond said. “He’s an asset to the organization. I think he’s going to be equally as good wherever he’s going. I know he helped me.”
The rest of the Nationals coaching staff has been asked to remain with the team through the entirety of this season. It has been an odd stretch for them, trying to move forward with the Nationals despite their closeness with Riggleman, whom first base coach Dan Radison called, “my best friend in the entire world.”
“At the end of the day, we’re all baseball people,” third base coach Bo Porter said. “We all understand it’s a business. Things happen, and you have to make adjustments and move on. You just have to come to the park every day ready to work and move on.
“I’m not going to coach third base differently because Davey Johnson is the manaer and not Jim Riggleman. I’m not going to coach the outfield differently because we have a new bench coach. The game itself is going to be the game.”