New Skipper For Nats' Hagerstown Club
WASHINGTON — Brian Daubach is preparing for his first season managing an affiliated minor league team, and there's a chance top Nationals prospect Bryce Harper will be on his roster. In any case, Daubach has an opportunity to empathize with just about any farmhand.
The 38-year-old will guide low Class A Hagerstown after spending the past two seasons as an independent league manager. He was a 17th-round pick of the Mets in 1990 out of high school in Belleville, Ill. It took him until September 1998 with the Marlins to make his major league debut, but the next year he was playing for the Red Sox in the postseason.
"I've missed almost a year with an ACL injury, worried about being released, been a Double-A all-star and Triple-A all-star and played in the ALCS, so I've had a lot of different experiences," Daubach said. "Hopefully being through all that is something I can pass along."
Though Daubach was a replacement player in spring training in 1995, he became a favorite in Boston's clubhouse. The first baseman/outfielder hit at least 20 home runs each season from 1999-2002. He later played for the White Sox, had another stint with the Red Sox and finished his major league career with the Mets in 2005.
At Hagerstown, he'll be joined by two other ex-big leaguers in pitching coach Chris Michalak and hitting coach Marlon Anderson. Harper, the No. 1 overall pick in last year's draft could be patrolling right field, or the 18-year-old could skip the South Atlantic League.
"You don't want to put limits on him," Daubach said.
• Aside from Daubach, the system's managers in 2011 will be Randy Knorr at Triple-A Syracuse, Tony Beasley at Double-A Harrisburg, Matthew LeCroy at high Class A Potomac, Gary Cathcart at short-season Auburn, Bobby Williams in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League and Sandy Martinez in the Dominican Summer League. Knorr and LeCroy both move up a level from last season.
• In the Dominican League this winter, 29-year-old righthander Yunesky Maya (4-2, 1.32 in 41 innings) was named pitcher of the year and 20-year-old center fielder Eury Perez (.345/.397/.388 in 116 at-bats with 21 stolen bases) rookie of the year. Maya will compete for a job in Washington's rotation this spring, while Perez likely will head to Potomac.