Although it’s not a full-time gig, the great Dodger catcher Steve Yeager will once again put on a Dodger uniform-as a coach. 63-year old Yeager will work with the Dodgers’ catchers during Spring Training at Camelback Ranch, and he will also be there to work with them at home games this season at Dodger Stadium. When the Dodgers are on the road, Steve will be a special-assignment catching instructor in the Minor Leagues. Bullpen catcher Mike Borzello left the organization to work for the Cubs.
Steve Yeager won the 1981 World Series MVP Award along with his teammates Ron Cey and Pedro Guerrero. You can read more about Steve’s 15-season career in our Blue Bios featuring the great Dodger backstop. Yeager played all but his last 50 games in Dodger Blue until he was traded to Seattle in 1986.
Yeager was an excellent defensive catcher, and his experience will come in handy when mentoring A.J. Ellis and the younger Tim Federowicz who is supposed to be a strong defender as well. Matt Treanor, who is skilled in defensive catching also, will also be able to give Ellis and FedEx pointers. Yeager who had an incredibly strong arm, will hopefully help the Dodger catchers with their throws to second base. We all saw how bad it was last season when it came to throwing out base runners with the likes of Dioner Navarro and Rod Barajas. We will look for improvement in that category especially when the high-leg kickin’ Ted Lilly is on the mound.
FedEx, seen as the possible future starting catcher for the Dodgers, will likely start in AAA Albuquerque with the veteran Josh Bard as his back-up. The Dodgers also have a couple of other catching prospects in the farm system like Griff Erickson and Matt Wallach. We’ll look for Yeager to mentor these youths as well. Yeager had lent guidance to Russell Martin, and he has worked as a coach for the Dodgers on and off over the years.
After Rod Barajas signed with the Pirates this offseason, A.J. Ellis will be finally given his chance to be the primary starting catcher for the Dodgers after being shuffled between Albuquerque and Los Angeles the last few years. You can also check out our overview of the 2012 Dodger Catchers.
“I’m really excited to be back and looking forward to working with the kids. I can’t wait,” said Yeager. “I had my day in the sun and now it’s about working with the kids. We just want the catchers to handle the staff, control the running game and take that worry away for Donnie.”
Yeager also remembered how Roy Campanella influenced the young players during Spring Training in Vero Beach at Dodgertown. Now Yeager can help to make an impression on a new generation of Dodger catchers.