Tuesday, November 2, 2010, 4:35 p.m., Updated 7:32 p.m.
By Mark Zuckerman
NATIONALS PAGE NATIONALS VIDEO
In searching for a new third base coach, the Washington Nationals turned to a man they already felt like they knew, even though he'd never previously worked for the organization.
Bo Porter, who was hired today to take the position vacated this week by Pat Listach, played for the Chicago Cubs in 1999 when Jim Riggleman was manager. He also interviewed with general manager Mike Rizzo last fall when the Nationals were still searching for a full-time manager.
"When the possibility came about where they were going to have a vacancy ... this just happened to be a perfect fit," he said.
Porter, 38, served as the Florida Marlins' third base coach from 2007-09, then joined the Arizona Diamondbacks' staff last season. After beginning the year as third base coach, he was promoted to bench coach when manager A.J. Hinch was fired and replaced by Kirk Gibson.
Gibson elected to bring in former Tigers teammate and Cubs bench coach Alan Trammell as his permanent bench coach with the Diamondbacks. Listach, who had been the Nationals' third base coach the last two seasons, has since been hired to take Trammell's spot as Chicago's new bench coach. Porter thus takes Listach's old job, completing the three-way swap.
A 40th round draft pick of the Cubs in 1993 who played in parts of three seasons with the Cubs, Athletics and Rangers, Porter still aspires to be a big-league manager. After interviewing with the Nationals last fall, he was under consideration for both the Marlins and Pittsburgh Pirates openings this year.
"At some point, I think the right opportunity will find me," he said. "But as I stand right now, I'm excited to be part of Jim Riggleman's staff. He's a veteran manager. I have the utmost respect for him. I think being around a veteran manager will give me even more opportunity to grow and learn. I think it's a win-win situation."
Porter and Riggleman have already spoken about his duties with the Nationals. A former outfielder who has earned rave reviews for his work with Arizona's Justin Upton and Chris Young, Florida's Chris Coghlan and San Francisco Giants postseason hero Cody Ross (who previously played with the Marlins), Porter will play a role in coaching Washington's outfielders.
He'll also play a significant role in baserunning instruction, an area that plagued the Nationals this season.
"You always hear about pitching, defense and timely hitting," Porter said. "But, you know, baserunning is that one aspect that is often overlooked, until it affects the outcome of a game. Then it's harped on. That's something I really pride myself in, and something I'll really try to bring to the organization. Jim Riggleman and I have already talked about it. He and I will share the responsibility of making sure that it's a strength of our team."
The rest of Riggleman's 2010 staff will return next season: pitching coach Steve McCatty, hitting coach Rick Eckstein, bench coach John McLaren, first base coach Dan Radison and bullpen coach Jim Lett.