WASHINGTON -- Angels player information coach Rick Eckstein said he doesn't have any bitterness toward the Nationals, who relieved him of his duties as hitting coach last July and replaced him with Rick Schu. Why? He said the Nationals gave him the chance to be with a team that went from a last place to a National League East winner in 2012.
"They gave me a chance to be a big league hitting coach," Eckstein said "Obviously, there was some disappointment in '13, but all in all, I have nothing but fond memories. I think anybody in your life that gives you a chance to achieve your goals, no matter what happens, you look back and say, 'Thank you.' I got an opportunity."
Eckstein has the distinction of coaching both Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper and Angels outfielder Mike Trout. He called them electric players who have the passion to be the best that they can be.
"Unbelievable talent in every facet of the game. They show up ready to go. They always try to prepare themselves," Eckstein said. "Bryce was great during the times I was able to be with him. I have fond memories of knowing him.
"Getting to know Mike now, [he is] another tremendous talent with all the ability in the world. [He has] the makeup, the character, the camaraderie with his teammates, respect from his teammates, the influence over his teammates. He makes you better. When you stand next to him, you feel like a better player."
Eckstein is in uniform before the game. He gives the Angels information about the opposing team before sitting in the stands, observing the game and getting information about opponents.
"Having [worked in Washington] for almost five years and now coming back, there are a lot of great people. I've been able to say hello to a lot of the guys from the past."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.