Randy St. Claire worked for Dick Scott once before, for about three weeks. St. Claire expects this relationship to last longer.
The Whitehall native was formally named pitching coach of the Las Vegas 51s of the Class AAA Pacific Coast League this season on Monday. The 51s are a new affiliate of the New York Mets, where Scott is the minor-league field coordinator.
St. Claire said he was hired by Scott in 2003 to serve as a coach in the Toronto Blue Jays’ system. Just after getting that job, then-manager Frank Robinson called St. Claire and asked him to become the Montreal Expos’ pitching coach. He quickly moved over to the Expos.
That launched a major-league coaching career that saw St. Claire lead pitching staffs in Montreal, Washington and Miami. But when the Marlins cleaned house and fired most of their coaching staff last fall, St. Claire had to look for work.
St. Claire said he talked with the Red Sox and was hopeful of being considered by Toronto, but didn’t get those big-league jobs. He said he interviewed with Scott during baseball’s winter meetings and was hired for the Las Vegas job a week later.
This will be a step down for St. Claire after a decade in the major leagues, but he’s happy to be working in baseball.
“What are you going to do?” St. Claire said. “There’s 30 big-league jobs, and they’re tough to come by. I love baseball and I love coaching. I have no concern about stepping back. Hopefully I’ll get another opportunity; if not, I enjoy what I’m doing.”
The 51s will be managed by former Mets infielder Wally Backman. St. Claire said he played with Backman in 1989 with the Minnesota Twins.
St. Claire has played in Las Vegas before as a visiting pitcher, but hasn’t been to the city in a long time.