I got a call today from Long Beach State coach Mike Weathers, who had shoulder surgery last week to remedy a lifetime of baseball-related wear and tear. His recovery is going well so far, though he expects there to be some pain along the way.
The same could be said of the search to replace pitching coach Troy Buckley, who Weathers said he hoped would succeed him one day as LBSU’s head coach. Weathers didn’t rule out that possibility even now that Buckley has gone to be the Pirates’ minor league pitching coordinator. In the meantime, life goes on.
"We’ll survive," Weathers said. "We met with the team Monday–I thought they took it OK. There were some guys stunned, and there’s no question some of the young guys will take it tough. But the pitching staff, I will be surprised if they crack given the foundation Troy has given them. Whoever I bring in (to replace Buckley) will be in more of a maintenance situation, to maintain what Troy’s been doing, because we’ve got an older, experienced staff."
Weathers said he’s fielded a lot of calls from potential replacements in the last 24 hours, but he’s still trying to decide whether to replace Buckley internally or to bring in a replacement from another school. Weathers knows it might be difficult to find the right candidate from another Division I school because of the unusual timing, and he’s considered bringing in a replacement from a small school on a temporary basis until a wider search can be conducted next summer.
Another option is to elevate volunteer assistant T.J. Bruce to a full-time job, giving him increased recruiting duties to go along with his work with the offense and infield. In that scenario, administrative assistant Scott Lemone would take on an increased role with the pitching staff. Lemone, who was the director of baseball operations at Cal Poly last year, was a pitcher at Boston College and Chico (Calif.) State and served a year as pitching coach at De La Salle (Calif.) High. Weathers would also be more involved with the pitchers, who wouldn’t require as much hands-on instruction because of their experience.
"They basically have been taught what they need to, they now have to go out and compete," Weathers said.
Weathers added that he hopes to decide which direction he’s going in by the end of the week.
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