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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Dan Warthen, That Advice - Playing Days

The Expos pitcher had a rough day, his pitching coach believing the hurler became fixated on previous walks, instead of the batter at hand.

Expos pitching coach Jim Brewer was speaking about his third-year left-hander Dan Warthen.

"Forget the guy you just walked," Brewer told The Associated Press of his advice to Warthen. "It's easy to think positive if you force yourself to think positive. But when negative things pile up, the more you'll think about them and the more negative you're going to be."

While Warthen was on the receiving end of the pitching coach's advice, these days it is Warthen who is the one giving that advice out. Warthen has served in the major league coach for two decades now, serving for 2012 as pitching coach for the Mets.

Warthen's playing career began in 1971, taken by the Expos in the second round of the draft, out of Omaha's North High School.

He started at short-season Watertown, going 9-3 in 14 outings. He moved to AA Quebec for a shortened 10-outing 1972. He returned in 1973 for a full season at Quebec, going 8-6 in a mix of starting and relief.

Warthen made AAA Memphis in 1974, then, in May 1975, he made Montreal. It was an illness of Expos reliever Dale Murray that led to Warthen's call-up.

In 40 outings, 18 starts, Warthen went 8-6, with a 3.11 ERA. In July, he got praise from Pirate Willie Stargell. Stargell, though, adjusted to Warthen, hitting a home run.

"That fellow (Warthen) was throwing some kind of heat," Stargell told The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette afterward. "I was just hoping to make contact, maybe a hit, a sacrifice fly."

Warthen returned for 1976, but he couldn't match his playing time for the previous year. He got into 23 games, 16 starts. He went 2-10, with 5.30 ERA.

In 1977, Warthen got into 12 games for the Expos. At the end of May, Warthen pitched a complete-game, eight-hitter. At one point in that game, Warthen pitched out of jam with a double play.

"I just took a little off the fast ball," Warthen told The Canadian Press afterward of that double play. "He hit the ball pretty good, but he was out in front."

Warthen, though was traded in June to the Phillies. He got into three more games with Philadelphia. His major league career ended in 1978, with five games as an Astro.

Warthen, though, is recorded as playing into 1982, moving to the Pirates system in 1979. His playing career over, Warthen then started his coaching career, one where he got back to the major leagues as a pitching coach, first with the Mariners and most recently with the Mets.

For Warthen's coaching career, go to Dan Warthen, That Promise

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