PHOENIX — It’s finally official. Dave Duncan has joined the Diamondbacks as pitching consultant and special assistant to general manager Kevin Towers.
Duncan, 68, will assist the coaching staff’s instruction of pitchers and catchers during spring training, evaluate the farm system and provide input on D-backs’ prospective draft prospects.
Following his 11-year major league career as a catcher, he put in 32 years as a major league pitching coach, most recently from 1996 to 2011 with the St. Louis Cardinals. He has coached four Cy Young Award winners: Chris Carpenter, Dennis Eckersley, Bob Welch and LaMarr Hoyt.
Duncan took a leave of absence from St. Louis after winning the 2011
World Series to care for his wife, Jeanine, who passed away from brain
cancer in June.
The D-backs were interested in Duncan as the pitching coach to replace Charles Nagy, who was fired this offseason after three years, but Duncan said Thursday he was not ready to make that kind of commitment. He is expected to have a say in the hiring of Nagy’s replacement.
“In order to do the job right it’s very time consuming, it’s very stressful, you’ve got to really putting everything you’ve got into it 24 hours a day during the season and during Spring Training,” Duncan said in a conference call. “I just didn’t feel like I was ready to make that kind of a commitment again right now. I don’t know how I’ll feel a year from now, two years from now, but right now, I just didn’t feel like I could make that kind of commitment.”
His sons Chris and Shelley both played in the major leagues after starring at Canyon del Oro High School in Tucson. Duncan said he has two grandchildren living in Tucson, and that played a role in his decision to join the Diamondbacks.