Marlins manager Mike Redmond sent his old teammate, Craig Counsell, a congratulatory text message Monday morning.
Well, sort of.
“Welcome to the hot seat,” Redmond said he messaged Counsell. “He didn’t text me back. I’m sure he’s having a busy day.”
Counsell, known best for scoring the Marlins’ winning run in Game 7 of the 1997 World Series, was named the Milwaukee Brewers’ new manager Monday.
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He’s now the fourth former Marlins player to manage in the big leagues, joining Redmond, current Rockies manager Walt Weiss and former Cubs manager Rick Renteria.
Counsell, 44, spent three years with the Marlins before embarking on the rest of his 16-year career with the Dodgers, Diamondbacks and Brewers. He retired in 2012 with the Brewers and took a job in the front office, serving as a special assistant to general manager Doug Melvin.
But he never has managed a game until now.
“He’s was always a very smart, heady player,” said Preston Wilson, a former Marlin and current analyst for Fox Sports Florida. “He definitely paid attention to everything that went on — not just the positions he played.”
Redmond said Counsell, his teammate in 1998 and 1999 with the Marlins, had conversations with him this winter about managing. Redmond, who spent only two years managing in the minors before the Marlins hired him away from Toronto, said Counsell will not have trouble adjusting.
“As long as he’s surrounded by the right people, he’ll be just fine,” Wilson said. “I don’t think any manager knows everything.
“A lot of managers, you rely heavily on your bench coach and you’re pitching coach to fill in the voids of knowledge that you don’t have. He’s a good baseball man.”
IN GOOD COMPANY
As the son of a major league All-Star, Dee Gordon enjoyed some perks as a kid.
In 2004, when he was 16, Gordon said he and his brothers took advantage of their backstage passes at the All-Star Game in Houston and got autographs from as many players as they could. The last All-Star to sign Gordon’s baseball: eventual home run king Barry Bonds.
Now, Gordon finds himself in Bonds’ company. His .645 batting average (20 for 31) over the Marlins most recent homestand is the second-highest for a homestand of at least nine games in baseball since 1914.
The guy in front of Gordon? Bonds, who posted a .684 mark (13 for 19) over a 10-game homestand from April 12 to 22 in 2004.
“Let’s just be honest about it, I’m not going to be as good as Barry Bonds, ever,” Gordon said with a smile in the Marlins clubhouse. “My hits were all singles.”
Gordon said he’s always admired Bonds.
“Barry Bonds was sick, man,” Gordon said. “Now that I’ve played in San Francisco, you see where he hit his record home run, nobody hits the ball out there ever.”
Not even Giancarlo Stanton?
“Right-handed yeah,” Gordon said. “But lefty, that’s a long way. I hit one last year and thought, ‘Yeah, that’s gone.’ Didn’t even get to the warning track. I took the triple.”
▪ Tuesday: Marlins RHP Mat Latos (0-3, 6.86 ERA) at Washington Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg (2-2, 4.60), 7:05p.m., Nationals Park.
▪ Wednesday: Marlins RHP Tom Koehler (2-2, 4.67) at Nationals RHP Max Scherzer (1-3, 1.26), 1:05 p.m., Nationals Park.