VIERA, Fla. -- When Matt Williams took over as the new manager of the Washington Nationals, he inherited a coaching staff made up mostly of leftovers from the Davey Johnson regime.
Pitching coach Steve McCatty, hitting coach Rick Schu and bench coach Randy Knorr all worked under Johnson during the 2013 season.
Williams did bring in Mark Weidemaier, who had worked with him in Arizona, to focus on defense.
One member of this year's staff who doesn't fit either category is bullpen coach Matt LeCroy, 38, who was not on Johnson's staff last year, but is familiar to the front office and player development staff of the Nationals.
In 2013, LeCroy was the manager of the Harrisburg Senators, the Double-A farm team of the Nationals in the Eastern League. LeCroy said he had not met Williams until he interviewed for the job.
"When he hired me, it was really the first time I had talked to him," LeCroy said before a spring training game on the road against the Atlanta Braves. "When we got down here, I got to see the true sense of who he is.
"He is stern, but he also communicates with the players and tries to get their feel on a lot of things. He has been around the game for a long time. He has been a third base coach and instructor, and that is going to carry over."
The pitching coach at Harrisburg under LeCroy last season was Paul Menhart, a former big league pitcher with Toronto, Seattle and San Diego. Menhart joined the Nationals' minor league coaching staff in 2009 after having retired as a player the previous year
"Matt was an absolute joy to work with," Menhart wrote in an e-mail. "His disposition, personality and knowledge of the game made my job very easy to do. He has a unique ability to ease perceived anxious situations. This attribute will benefit not only the relievers, but the entire team, including the rest of the staff."
The Minnesota Twins drafted LeCroy, a native of Belton, S.C., out of Clemson in 1997. A former catcher, LeCroy played in the majors for the Twins from 2000-05 and 2007 and with the Nationals under Frank Robinson in 2006.
LeCroy was playing in the independent Atlantic League before the Nationals hired him to manage the low Single-A Hagerstown Suns. He hit 17 home runs during a season twice for the Twins -- in 2003 and 2005 -- and during 476 major league games, he hit .260 with 60 home runs and 218 RBIs in 1,388 at bats.
During his only season with the Nationals, LeCroy hit .239 with two home runs and nine RBIs during 39 games with 67 at bats during the 2005 season.
NATS NOTES: The Nationals released pitcher Michael Gonzalez, infielder Jamey Carroll and pitcher Chris Young March 25. Washington sent Tyler Moore, Ryan Mattheus and Xavier Cedeno to Triple-A Syracuse.
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