McClune training on the job
Austin McClune sits in Curve manager Carlos Garcia’s chair, typing in statistics after every game. He then quietly gets up and leaves Garcia’s office.
According to Garcia, McClune could one day find himself permanently behind the desk in the manager’s office of a minor league team.
Unlike most managers in the minors, Garcia lets McClune coach third base, which is apart of the young coach’s lessons in order to possibly become a manager in the future.
“He has that capability,” Garcia said. “That’s the way I see it. For me, his development, that’s the thing.”
McClune helps Garcia around the clubhouse and splitting time at the third base coach’s box. Usually in the minor leagues, a coach like McClune will be at first base. The coach’s box across the diamond is normally reserved for the manager.
However, McClune has spent more than a handful of games at third.
“He needs to learn and develop himself as a complete coach,” Garcia said. “In my view, he needs to coach third base, not just first base. He needs to learn how to be on that side, make decisions that affect the outcome of the game.”
McClune is just a few years removed from his playing days with the Pirates organization. McClune, who played in the outfield with the Pirates, spent five years playing professionally. He never made it past Single-A Bradenton. In 2012, McClune was a player-coach under Garcia, and that’s why Garcia kept McClune on when he moved to Altoona.
“We have great relationship,” Garcia said. “He was player-coach for Bradenton last year. I saw how he works, his professionalism and how much he learns in the game. It’s a great thing in having him here. That’s huge for me.”
Garcia isn’t a bad guy to learn the ropes from either.
Garcia coached first base with the Pirates in 2010. He also coached both first and third base for the Mariners from 2005 to 2007.
“Definitely being in that spot is a good thing for him,” Garcia said of what McClune can learn. “He is going learn a different perspective.”
Garcia said that McClune will need to learn how to use his baseball instincts to translate into what happens on the base paths. McClune also will learn how to make decisions in split seconds that can impact the game – both skills McClune will need if he wants to succeed as a coach in the future.
“I want him to learn as much as he can from there,” Garcia said. “He does a pretty good job for me there.”
Tuesday’s game with New Britain was suspended in the third inning due to rain.
The game, which the Rock Cats led 3-0, will start today at 11 a.m. It will be completed to nine innings, and the two teams will play another game, seven innings, immediately after.
Nick Kingham will be the pitcher when the game resumes.
It is the second time this series that the Rock Cats and Curve will have played back-to-back games on the same day. They also played a doubleheader earlier this season.