St. Claire Is Released From Hospital

By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 26, 2006

NEW YORK, Sept. 25 -- Washington Nationals pitching coach Randy St. Claire checked out of a local hospital Monday after being treated for pneumonia, but the club's pitchers remained without their mentor for a third straight game.

St. Claire, who became so feverish on Friday night that his wife had to ice him down in their hotel room, traveled back to Washington with the club by train after Monday's game. But there's no telling when he'll return to the team, which plays the final six games of the season this week at RFK Stadium.

"It makes a difference with him not here," reliever Jon Rauch said. "He's a big part of the club, and he's a big part of the organization. But like with anything else, you got to make due with what you have."

The coaching staff is in a state of flux, and -- like Manager Frank Robinson -- each member is wondering whether he will be retained. St. Claire, however, would seem to be more secure than most. General Manager Jim Bowden consistently praises his work, most recently in helping reliever Ryan Wagner regain the form that made him a first-round draft pick in 2003.

Robinson, who has worked with St. Claire for four seasons, said his pitching coach has done "a terrific job."

"Randy's not a pushy individual," he said. "He's not going to beat you over the head with information. He has a very easy way of going about presenting you with the information, what he would like to do. . . . He's a hard worker."

Bullpen coach Randy Knorr began making visits to the mound Monday night against the Mets. "The duties and the knowledge that Randy brings, I can't do that," Robinson said.

Grand Finale

The Nationals' final homestand begins Tuesday night with three games against the Philadelphia Phillies, the last chance for Washington to influence the National League playoff race. The Nationals are 39-36 at RFK Stadium, and with three wins in their final six games will better last year's home record of 41-40.

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