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Sean Doolittle joins Nationals staff as pitching strategist after retiring as a player

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The Washington Nationals announced on Monday that they’ve hired two-time All-Star reliever Sean Doolittle as a pitching strategist. That role is becoming more common across the league, with the individual often serving as a bridge between the baseball operations department and the coaching staff on matters that include, but are not limited to, game-planning and approach. 

“Sean Doolittle was always an extremely talented pitcher, but he is also one of the most intelligent baseball minds you can find,” president of baseball operations and general manager Mike Rizzo said in press release announcing the addition. “We’re incredibly excited to have him on our staff to help guide our talented group of young pitchers.”

Doolittle, 37, spent parts of 11 seasons in the majors, with five of those coming as a member of the Nationals. He amassed a 3.20 ERA (130 ERA+) and a 5.07 strikeout-to-walk ratio. In addition to his two All-Star Game appearances, he was part of Washington’s 2019 World Series championship squad. He made six appearances for the Nationals in 2022, throwing 5 1/3 shutout innings before being shut down because of injury. Doolittle announced his retirement from playing in September 2023.

Doolittle, for his part, offered the following comment, again as part of the team-issued statement.

“I can’t thank the Lerner family, Mike Rizzo and Davey Martinez enough for all they’ve done for me and my family. I love the Nationals and Washington D.C., and look forward to this new challenge while remaining an active member of an organization that means so much to me.”

It’s worth noting that Doolittle was originally drafted by the Oakland Athletics as a first baseman. He did not convert to being a pitcher on a permanent basis at the professional level until his age-24 season.

The Nationals are coming off a 71-91 season that saw them finish last in the National League East.

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