The Nationals have fired pitching coach Derek Lilliquist, general manager Mike Rizzo told reporters after tonight’s game, including Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post (Twitter links). Taking over the post will be Paul Menhart.
Lilliquist has been in his role since last season, signing on with the Nats after he was dismissed by the Cardinals. He took over for Mike Maddux, who left the D.C. organization for the Cards. The irony of that swap is only furthered by tonight’s move, which occurred while Maddux dressed in the visitor’s clubhouse.
Clearly, the results have not been there this year for the Nationals, who improved this evening to 13-17. The bullpen has been a major culprit in the struggles, while the rotation has perhaps not been quite as sharp as might be hoped. Just what level of fault Lilliquist carries in that situation is all but impossible to assess from the outside, but the club obviously felt a change was in order.
Rizzo says that Menhart was chosen because he’s “hands-on” and “analytical” in his approach. Menhart has five years of experience running the organization’s pitching development efforts as the minor-league pitching coordinator.