Maddux ready to help Rangers staff
ARLINGTON, Texas – The Texas Rangers pitching staff has come so far over the last few years that not even future Hall of Famer Greg Maddux is sure what he has contribute.
Maddux began his job as a special assistant to general manager Jon Daniels on Tuesday by taking part in the winter development camp at Rangers Ballpark.
"This team's pretty good right now already," said Maddux. "You just hope everybody continues to try and get better. That's really all it is. Just try to come to the park every day and get as good as you can."
Having Maddux helping the team – along with his brother, pitching coach Mike Maddux – can only help the cause. Greg can lend his expertise in many areas to the Texas pitchers, helping them mentally as well as physically.
He didn't win 355 games with overpowering stuff. He hit his spots and was one of the best fielding pitchers in the game's history, having won 18 Gold Gloves. That's an area the Rangers have been sorely lacking. Texas pitchers committed 16 errors last season.
Maddux said there's no specific drill a pitcher can do to be better defensively, but it will be an area the team works on in Surprise, Ariz., when spring training begins next month.
"You just go out and do it," Maddux said. "When you do your PFPs (pitcher's fielding practice) in spring training, that's when you do it. You don't write up a game plan. You watch other guys do it. Usually, when guys get to big league camp they are pretty good at technique and the fundamentals of PFPs. It's just a matter of reading the ball correctly off the bat and making the right decisions once you have the ball."
Maddux said if a pitcher makes three plays a game, it saves an inning of work. If a pitcher is only throwing seven innings in a start, that leaves just 18 other outs for the pitcher to retire.
It's that kind of thought process that has Texas manager Ron Washington eager to have another Maddux working with his team.
"What does he have, 18 Gold Gloves?" Washington said. "We'll use him. Right now, we just want to make sure we get everyone on the mound and get some of that vinegar out of them. Right now, the most important thing is the things they (the pitchers) receive in the clubhouse from the Mike Maddux's, Greg, (Andy) Hawkins and the other pitching coaches that are here."