The Nationals had a promising 2011 season, and most of the coaching staff that helped make it happen will return in 2012.
Hitting coach Rick Eckstein, pitching coach Steve McCatty, third-base coach Bo Porter, first-base coach Trent Jewett and bullpen coach Jim Lett will rejoin manager Davey Johnson's coaching staff for the 2012 season, the Nats announced on Thursday. The club also announced that Randy Knorr will join the staff as bench coach.
Eckstein and McCatty return for their fourth seasons on Washington's staff. Lett returns for his third season, while Porter and Jewett both return for a second consecutive year on the Nationals' big league staff.
After retiring from a 19-year playing career in 2004, Knorr, who replaces Pat Corrales as bench coach, has spent the past seven seasons as either a Major League coach or Minor League manager in the Nats' organization. During parts of six seasons managing in the Nationals' system, Knorr has worked with 75 percent of the players on the club's current 40-man roster, including Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa, John Lannan, Drew Storen, Stephen Strasburg, Chien-Ming Wang, Ryan Zimmerman and Jordan Zimmermann.
Knorr has posted a 384-380 (.503) Minor League managerial mark, with winning records in three of his five full seasons as skipper. He began his career on the bench in 2005 with Savannah of the Class A South Atlantic League.
In 2008, his final of three seasons with Class A Potomac, Knorr, 43, skippered the Nationals to their first Carolina League championship and the first domestic title won by a Nats affiliate since the team relocated to Washington in 2005. He also managed the Scottsdale Scorpions to a 2010 Arizona Fall League championship and skippered teams at Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse in '10 and '11, respectively.
Knorr, who played 253 Major League games as a catcher with the Blue Jays, Astros, Marlins, Rangers and Expos, earned a pair of World Series rings with Toronto in 1993 and '94, and joins Washington's big league coaching staff for the third time. He served as the Nationals' bullpen coach for the final three months of the 2006 season and the entire '09 campaign.
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB and read his MLBlog, Youneverknow. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.