Greg Maddux, Bochy bring accolades and wisdom to Rangers camp

February 14th, 2023

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Day 1 of Rangers camp in 2023 brought with it overcast skies, a new special instructor with a Hall of Fame plaque and maybe most importantly, Bruce Bochy at the helm of a club for the first time since the 2019 season.

“I mean, my blood was boiling. It was a nice charge as I was coming to the ballpark here,” Bochy said of landing back in Arizona. “It’s three years, and you know, I can’t believe how fast it went by. Still, to be back, it’s exciting -- it really is.”

While Bochy brings three World Series rings from his days with the San Francisco Giants to the managerial seat in Arlington, the game will have a unique look to it this season, one that varies significantly from the last time the 67-year-old skipper was in the dugout.

Take, for instance, the three-batter minimum that relievers face upon entering the game, a rule introduced prior to the 2020 season, which will be a completely new sensation for Bochy. Once a wheeling-and-dealing manager that deftly deployed specialty bullpen weapons a decade ago with the Giants, Bochy will have his hands tied once the gates swing open and the first batter digs in.

“You bring them in and not much you can do for three hitters except pray a little bit,” Bochy said with a grin.

While Bochy acknowledged that he may not have firsthand experience under the new guidelines, he thinks the changes made since he last filled out a lineup card have actually increased strategy and made the game a more enjoyable viewing experience, particularly for the younger generation of fans.

Of course, all 30 clubs will be undergoing a spring crash course on the introduction of the pitch timer, elimination of the defensive shift and streamlined pickoff rules, elements the league has experimented with at the lower levels before giving them the callup to the Majors.

“Major League Baseball is doing a great job really rolling these out and making sure they’re covering everything,” Rangers executive vice president and general manager Chris Young said. “But it’s a lot -- it’s three big rule changes all at once, and there’s a lot to take in and think through.”

Bochy’s resume has been well-documented, as he is just one of 12 managers to notch over 2,000 regular-season wins in AL/NL history, in addition to his four pennants. While Bochy brings a wealth of experience dating back to a big league career that began in 1978, the Rangers announced Tuesday that they had bolstered their in-house staff even further during Spring Training.

The special instructor on hand in Surprise is none other than Hall of Fame right-hander Greg Maddux, who will be working with the club extensively over the coming weeks. Beyond his bona fides -- which include an AL/NL record 18 Gold Glove Awards -- as one of the preeminent pitchers in the history of the sport, he’s also the brother of Rangers new (and former) pitching coach Mike Maddux.

“Mike said between he and Greg, it was 18 Gold Gloves,” Young quipped.

Young and Greg have a camaraderie that dates back to the 2007 season when both played for the San Diego Padres. Even during his age-41 campaign, Maddux made 34 starts and, you guessed it, won a Gold Glove.

“Certainly a Hall of Fame pedigree, one of my favorite teammates of all time and one of the best fielding pitchers of all time,” Young said. “One of my favorite things about Greg was just his ability to take complex situations and simplify, and he’s one of the best I’ve ever been around in terms of that.”