Maddux in Dodgers camp: 'There's always stuff to learn'
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Greg Maddux stood at the back of the bullpen during Dodgers' spring camp Wednesday, watching the team's young pitchers put in their work. He was competing for Cy Young Awards before some of these pupils were born, but The Professor doesn't expect to bowl the kids over with his expertise.
''I'll probably say all of the same things other coaches have said to them over the five years, 10 years,'' he said after his first day on the job as a Dodgers special assistant. ''Maybe say it a little different. Who knows?''
Maddux was the first pitcher in major league history to win the Cy Young in four successive years (1992-1995), and he had 355 victories and 18 Gold Gloves during his Hall of Fame career. Other coaches might use similar words, but Maddux can give those ideas special meaning.
Maddux's resume speaks volumes, and it's the biggest reason he's in a Dodger uniform at Camelback Ranch for spring training. Dodgers CEO Stan Kasten talked Maddux into joining the spring staff. They've known each other since 1992, when Kasten, then the Atlanta Braves president, signed Maddux as a free agent following his Cy Young season with the Chicago Cubs.
''Stan kind of asked me about it a few months ago,'' Maddux said. ''I wasn't doing anything. I had planned to watch my kid play a little college ball. So, I figured, OK, this will be a good opportunity. Another team. I'll just kind of see how it goes.''
Maddux, 50, has worked in a similar role for the Cubs and Texas Rangers since he retired after the 2008 season with the Dodgers.
''This is exactly the same kind of job,'' Maddux said. ''It's a chance to give back. It'd be great if I could help just one or two players get better. I mean, there's always stuff to learn.
''There's stuff I didn't hear until I was 40 that I wish I had heard when I was 20. There's stuff I hear now that I've never heard before.''
Maddux is one of several former greats expected to work as a guest coach for the Dodgers this spring. Legendary pitcher Sandy Koufax has put in some days over the last few springs. This year, Eric Karros, Shawn Green and Ron Cey are also expected, and Raul Ibanez has been hired as a special assistant.
There also might be times when Maddux works with the major league staff during the regular season.
''A little bit here and there,'' said Maddux, who grew up in Las Vegas and has a home in Dana Point, California, about 60 miles from Dodger Stadium.
Maddux's time in camp also brings a reunion with current ace Clayton Kershaw. Maddux and Kershaw were teammates in 2008, when Maddux returned for a second stint in Los Angeles following a trade in August with San Diego. Kershaw was a 20-year-old rookie that season. Now, Maddux calls Kershaw one of the best he's ever seen.
''You never think anybody is going to be that good,'' Maddux said. ''I mean, you knew he was good and he was going to pitch for a long time. He had an incredible fastball, good breaking stuff. And he's been able to turn into a winner.
''I think a lot of guys have the stuff or the makeup. But not everybody's a winner. He's been able to win, stay healthy and win a lot.''
NOTES: Brandon McCarthy threw a bullpen session Wednesday. The right-hander said it was his seventh or eighth bullpen since Tommy John surgery on April 30. ''Spring is just going to be a series of bullpens for me,'' said McCarthy, who hopes to return to the starting rotation before the All-Star break. ... Manager Dave Roberts expects Justin Turner to spend most of his time at third base this season. Turner was a utility infielder last season but had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee during the offseason. ''That's where he's comfortable,'' Roberts said. ... Roberts also said the team plans to keep Corey Seager at shortstop.