Brewers pick Peterson to straighten out arms
As new pitching coach of the Milwaukee Brewers, Rick Peterson is no stranger to manager Ken Macha or bench coach Willie Randolph.
The Brewers have selected Peterson to help turn around a starting rotation that ranked last in the National League with a 5.37 earned run average in 2009, ruining the team's chances of returning to the playoffs. He is expected to be formally introduced Tuesday by the club.
Peterson, who will be 55 at the end of the month, has links to both Macha and Randolph. Peterson worked in Boston's farm system with Macha and also served as his pitching coach with the Oakland Athletics in 2003.
Peterson then moved on to become pitching coach of the New York Mets, where Randolph was the manager. The two worked together there until they were dismissed during the 2008 season.
A few days after the Brewers' season ended, general manager Doug Melvin and assistant Gord Ash traveled to New Jersey to interview Peterson for the job. He quickly emerged as the favorite for the job.
Peterson, who pitched for four seasons in Pittsburgh's system, began his coaching career in that organization in 1979. He continued to coach in that system until 1984, when he was elevated to the position of bullpen coach for the Pirates.
Peterson then moved on to Cleveland's organization and served as a minor-league pitching coach there for three years, from 1986-'88. He then coached in the Chicago White Sox's system for six years before joining the major-league club as co-director of its sports psychology program, focusing on performance behavior.
In 1996, Peterson was hired by the Toronto Blue Jays to be their minor-league pitching coordinator. The following season, he was hired as pitching coach of Boston's Class AA Trenton affiliate, which had been managed the previous two seasons by Macha.
Peterson continued to move around, joining the Oakland organization as a roving minor-league instructor before being quickly promoted to major -league pitching coach in March 1998. He became known for helping the Athletics develop the "Big 3" of Mark Mulder, Tim Hudson and Barry Zito, all of whom became 20-game winners.
Oakland led the American League with a 3.58 team earned run average in 2002 and 3.63 in 2003. After the '03 season, he was hired as pitching coach of the Mets, a position he held until he was dismissed along with Randolph on June 17, 2008.
Peterson did not coach for a team this year, preferring to focus on the launch of his new enterprise, 3pSports, with the aid of former pitchers Tom Glavine and Al Leiter as well as noted sports surgeon James Andrews. That company offers biomechanical analysis of athletes, specifically pitchers, with the aim of assessing their chance of injury while also improving their performance.
Others interviewed for the post were Bryan Price, who recently accepted that same role with the Cincinnati Reds, as well as Chris Bosio. After the Brewers dismissed pitching coach Bill Castro on Aug. 12, Bosio was summoned from his post as pitching coach for Class AAA Nashville to fill the position on an interim basis.