The St. Louis Cardinals wasted no time naming the successor for the vacant pitching coach position, naming Derek Lilliquist to the job, according to St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Joe Strauss. Less than 24 hours from when word got out of Duncan’s leave of absence, general manager John Mozeliak and manager Mike Matheny decided to promote Lilliquist. Lilliquist was the interim pitching coach during the 2011 season when Duncan took his first leave to be with his wife Jeanine following surgery to remove a brain tumor.
Mozeliak suggested that he had a notion that Duncan may choose to stay at home with his wife based on discussions they held just after the World Series. Mozeliak said he had a feeling he may need to name a replacement at some point. That became the case after Duncan realized he would be unable to commit to his responsibilities to the Cardinals.
Lilliquist is a former major league pitcher with eight seasons of experience. He was a starter early on in his career and shifted to the bullpen at the end. Lilliquist has been with the Cardinals organization since 2002. He was previously the pitching coordinator at the team’s rehab complex in Jupiter, Florida. Last season was his first as bullpen coach. He performed well in Duncan’s absence, as this was the time the Cardinals began their chase of the Atlanta Braves for the wild card berth.
The club also promoted the Dyar Miller to bullpen coach. Miller has been with the club longer than any other tenured employees. He was previously the minor league pitching coordinator. That position was in turn handed to Brent Strom, a pitching instructor since 2008.
The moves should not come as a surprise to Cardinals fans. It makes the most sense to promote within the organization, especially since each man has worked closely with the pitching staff at one point or another. Each coach has also seen first hand what Duncan did as a coach. They know what works for each member of the pitching staff. It will not be easy to replace Duncan, but Lilliquist has gained the respect of the players in his short time with the big club. He has tough shoes to fill, but is handed a very good staff to work with.