Last fall I was at Yankee Stadium working on an assignment for SI.com. I wanted to speak to Kevin Long, the batting coach. I waited, just outside of the Yankee dugout, for batting practice to end. The players started walking off the field. When I saw a familiar face approach I introduced myself…only it was to the wrong guy. “No, I’m not Kevin Long,” said Rob Thomson, as if he had often been mistaken for someone other than himself, “he’s the short guy over there.”
I felt like a dope, but Thomson didn’t seem displeased which made me breath a sigh of relief. Well, turns out Thomson will be more visible this year in the Bronx as Joe Girardi’s bench coach. According to Mark Feinsand in the Daily News:
“I knew how prepared he was, how much he knew about the game and all the different roles he had played within the organization,” Girardi said. “The only thing he didn’t have was big-league experience, but he’s been doing it for years.”
Now, after spending four years as the seventh man on Joe Torre’s six-man coaching staff – three as special assignment instructor and one as major league field coordinator – Thomson has been rewarded with a spot as Girardi’s bench coach.
“I’ve known him for a long time; he works as hard as anyone,” said Derek Jeter, who has worked with Thomson since 1993. “He’s always prepared, always positive; he’s a lot of fun to be around. I’m excited for him. It’s well-deserved.”
“He’s earned the right,” Cashman said. “We all talk about the emergence of the young players on our roster, but we have an emergence of our coaching staff from the minors on this roster as well. Rob Thomson is a product of that, as are Dave Eiland and Kevin Long.”
Joba Chamberlian re-upped with the Yanks too. He’ll earn $390,000. Random thought…Last week, I either read or heard that Joba went to P.R. over the winter to attend a charity bowling benefit that Jorge Posada hosted. I wonder if a veteran like Posada paid for Joba to fly down there or if the kid paid is own way.