Berwers hire Rick Peterson as pitching coach

Rick Peterson knew he wanted to join the Brewers as soon as he left his interview. Help for Milwaukee’s beleaguered pitching staff can’t come quickly enough.

Peterson, 54, was given a two-year contract Tuesday as Milwaukee’s newest pitching coach after spending a year out of baseball. He inherits one of the worst staffs in league.

“When I walked out of the interview, I was so pleasantly surprised and excited,” he said.

Peterson’s coaching style is rooted in biomechanics that teach pitchers to develop a repeatable delivery that keeps them injury-free.

“Rick brings a number of years of experience as a pitching coach and an extensive background in the study of motion analysis,” general manager Doug Melvin said in a statement. “He is a high-energy individual and a forward thinker with a comprehensive program of motivation and instruction that is in tune with our current pitching philosophy.”

Peterson was most recently pitching coach of the New York Mets and was fired during the 2008 season along with manager Willie Randolph, who is now the Brewers bench coach.

Before New York, he was the pitching coach of the Oakland A’s and is credited with helping develop the staff of Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito. All three eventually became 20-game winners.

Current Brewers manager Ken Macha was part of that Oakland staff as bench coach, and Peterson said his familiarity with Randolph and Macha is crucial.

“When Kenny and I were in Oakland, we sat next to each other on the bench all those years,” Peterson said. “To be in the postseason with people that are in the dugout that you’re going to join is really awesome, because you really just try to pick up where you left off.”

Peterson becomes the third person in less than a year to assume the role since Mike Maddux left for a similar position in Texas. The Brewers fired Bill Castro midseason last year and have offered interim coach Chris Bosio another job.

Peterson’s ability to stick in Milwaukee will largely be judged by repairing a tattered starting staff that posted the highest ERA in the majors at 5.37.

The Brewers went 80-82 last year, 10 wins fewer than last year’s postseason run. Milwaukee entered July with a two-game lead in the NL Central, but injuries to starters Dave Bush and Jeff Suppan derailed the season as the Brewers finished 11 games behind St. Louis.

Yovani Gallardo (13-12, 3.73) and left-hander Manny Parra (11-11, 6.36 ERA) are the biggest projects for Peterson because of their potential.

Gallardo is 23 and Parra is 26. The two represent the only young arms that are available to start on the major league level in the organization.

Peterson said he’ll work immediately to get to know both of the pitchers’ long-term goals.

“I need to be a student of Parra and Gallardo and learn as much as I possibly can about them, not only about the physical nature about the delivery and the pitches, but to get to know them as people, what’s important to them,” Peterson said. “What do they want to accomplish in their life and their career? …

“People that are really, really successful, there’s an incredibly high price to pay for that. It does not come cheaply.”

Peterson said he believes all-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman will play an instrumental role in working with the pitchers, too.

“He becomes a coach on this team to a degree,” said Peterson, who planned to reach out to Hoffman soon. “I know just from watching, just from observing Trevor interact with his teammates and his pitchers on his team when we played each other, he’s a very caring, giving guy.”

The club also said Stan Kyles will return for a second season as bullpen coach.