Nats hire Bobby Henley as third base coach

Nats hire Bobby Henley as third base coach
November 19, 2013, 6:15 pm
Share This Post

Updated at 8:45 p.m.

In an ongoing effort to surround Matt Williams with as much institutional knowledge as possible, the Nationals have given their new manager another coach with longstanding ties to the organization.

Bobby Henley, who has served as either a player, minor-league coordinator or manager in the Nationals franchise for all but one season since 1991, has been named the club’s new third base coach.

Henley, 40, takes over for Trent Jewett, who left the Nationals to become Mariners bench coach for recently hired manager Lloyd McClendon.

It’s Henley’s first stint on a major-league coaching staff but he has long been a familiar face to members of the entire Nationals organization. The former Expos catcher has been part of the franchise’s player development system since retiring in 2003, including the last four as minor-league field coordinator.

Among Henley’s duties in that position: Coordinating spring training. The upbeat, high-energy coach has been a fixture in Viera, Fla., organizing spring workouts and signaling for players to switch from station to station with his ever-present air horn.

Henley also managed at several levels of the Nationals’ farm system, including the Rookie Gulf Coast League (2003, 2006-09), Class A Potomac (2005) and low-Class A Savannah (2004).

Drafted out of his Alabama high school by the Expos in 1991, Henley’s playing career was derailed by injuries. He appeared in 41 games for Montreal in 1998, hitting .304 with three homers, but never made it back. He retired following an abbreviated 2002 season in the Pirates’ organization, then immediately was hired by the Expos to manage in the GCL.

He has remained an instructor for the franchise ever since, relocating along with the Expos to Washington in 2005.

Henley will be one of three new coaches on Williams’ reconfigured staff. Bench coach Randy Knorr, pitching coach Steve McCatty, hitting coach Rick Schu and first base coach Tony Tarasco all were retained from Davey Johnson’s staff. Henley and new bullpen coach Matt LeCroy were each promoted from within the Nationals organization. The only outside addition is Mark Weidemaier, who previously worked with Williams in Arizona and was given a brand-new position on Washington’s staff as something of a defensive coordinator.