Jim Riggleman was the first domino on the Washington Nationals coaching staff to fall when he decided to leave the team after last Thursday's game. Bench coach John McLaren was next after winning his only series as interim manager. On Friday, first base coach Dan Radison became the final domino as he was let go from the team.
Trent Jewett will serve as Radison's replacement at first base after spending this season as an extra coach on Riggleman's staff. Pat Corrales was also named bench coach.
"I've been a good friend and supporter of Radison for a long time as I have been with Jim Riggleman," manager Davey Johnson explained. "It's nothing against Rad. I think he's a very good baseball man and I've liked him for a long time."
Radison was one of Riggleman's closest friends, but he did not follow in the ex-manager's footsteps by walking away on his own accord. Johnson said that he and general manager Mike Rizzo met about the situation and then asked Radison to leave the team. Johnson wanted to bring Corrales on board without adding an additional coach, leaving Radison as the odd man out.
The Nationals new skipper spoke very highly of Corrales, who has spent the last five years with the organization. Both were previously consultants in the front office before Rizzo asked Johnson to take over as manager.
Johnson then proceeded to tap Corrales, saying, "I didn't want to be the oldest guy on the staff."
"I've known Pat for a long time, I've battled against him," Johnson said. "He's a real good baseball man, I really like him a lot and I respect his opinions."
Corrales did not immediately jump at the idea, but soon agreed to join Johnson on the bench.
"I had to think about it, I had to talk to my wife," Corrales explained. "But I work for a guy that wants me here and is going to use me, so I'm happy to be here."
Johnson shares a similar respect for Jewett, who is in his third season with the organization. The 47-year-old recorded 1,144 wins in his 17 seasons as a minor league manager before joining the major league club this year.
While Johnson accepted responsibility for the move, he stressed that it was not his decision alone. He and Rizzo recently spoke about the new coaching staff and came to the conclusion that Radison should not be a part of the team moving forward. Rizzo could not be immediately reached for comment.
With Radison out of the picture, it looks like Johnson has finally set his coaching staff just hours before his home debut as manager at Nationals Park.
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