|Photo by USA Today|
New hitting coach Rick Schu has joined the Nationals after catching a flight on Monday evening, ready to help in any way he can as Washington hosts the Pittsburgh Pirates in the second game of their four-game series on Tuesday.
Schu said he got the call from the Nats in the middle of a doubleheader in Jupiter, Fla., while he was coaching in the Gulf Coast League. As a minor league hitting instructor for the team the past four seasons, he is familiar with many of the players, but admits he hasn’t watched much of the 48-51 Nationals this season.
Schu arrived at Nationals Park to meet with manager Davey Johnson Tuesday morning to go over what the team expects from his role over the season's final 63 games. He hopes to bring a fresh take to the Nats’ clubhouse and get them back to basics on offense.
“I like doing the little things and staying aggressive,” he said. “Hunt strikes, controlling the zone, swinging and strikes, staying aggressive on the heater, doing the little things. Moving the runners, getting a runner in from third, putting the ball in play with two strikes. It's very important and if it's important for us it becomes important to the players.”
Schu has worked with many of the younger Nationals players such as Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon, those who have been in the minor leagues recently. He also knows veterans like Jayson Werth and Wilson Ramos from rehab appearances this season and over the years.