The St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday announced the promotion of Carlyle High School graduate Bryan Eversgerd from pitching coach at their Class AAA affiliate in Memphis to bullpen coach in St. Louis.
The team also announced the hiring of Mike Maddux as pitching coach.
“I’m excited. I’m ecstatic,” said Eversgerd, who had other things on his mind until Cardinals General Manager Michael Girsch called to deliver the news of his promotion. “I’m trying to do some landscaping in front of my house, and I was at the hardware store getting some drain pipes and drain tile to put in.”
Eversgerd, 48, replaces Blaise Ilsley as the bullpen coach. Eversgerd also was a candidate to succeed pitching coach Derek Lilliquist, who, like Ilsley, was not retained.
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Eversgerd interviewed for both positions Oct. 12. He had one interview with Girsch and manager Mike Matheny and another with President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak.
“I told Mike Matheny and Girsch during the interview, ‘When you’re a player, you want to play in the big leagues. It’s the place to play. When you’re a coach, you want to coach in the big leagues,’” Eversgerd said. “It’s just as neat getting that call as a coach as it was as a player, for sure.”
Eversgerd, 48, said he was not disappointed to get the job as pitching coach.
“Not at all,” Eversgerd said. “I understand I had no big-league coaching experience. That’s a tall order. I’m very excited to be in the bullpen. I’ll be excited to learn more. As a (former) reliever, I feel like I have a good feel for the bullpen. I’m really excited to be part of it.”
Eversgerd is eager to work under Maddux, 56, who previously has been a pitching coach with the Washington Nationals, Texas Rangers and Milwaukee Brewers.
“I’ll learn from him and hopefully help him along the way also,” Eversgerd said, who promises to be bring plenty of energy to his new position. “Not to say (the Cardinals) haven’t had it because they have, but I’m a tireless worker. I believe in putting your time in. I was raised to believe that if you work at something hard enough, things will work out for you. I definitely bring that.
“And having been a reliever, I understand getting loose and how to help guys in that area and helping them manage their throws — whether it be long-toss or playing catch on certain days, or taking a day where you don’t throw the ball at all. I have a really good feel for how to get guys through a season.”
Eversgerd helped lead the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds to the Pacific Coast League championship this past season. He also was widely credited for his work with pitchers Luke Weaver, Jack Flaherty, John Brebbia and others, who were promoted from Memphis to help the Cardinals make a late run toward a spot in the playoffs.
Eversgerd said he would probably have been back in Memphis had the opportunity with the Cardinals not been available.
“We are very excited to welcome Mike to the Cardinals organization,” Mozeliak said in a statement released by the team. “We also look forward to giving Bryan Eversgerd a well-deserved opportunity on our major league staff.”
Eversgerd said he will maintain living quarters in St. Louis during the season, so he won’t have to make the 100-mile round trip between Carlyle and Busch Stadium.
“I may commute some of the time,” he said. “I may stay over, too, especially when we have a day game after a night game or something like that. I don’t know whether it will be a hotel or whether I’ll get a place.”
Eversgerd and his wife, Lisa, have two kids: son Jake, a senior at Carlyle; and daughter Kristen, a junior at Southeast Missouri State in Cape Girardeau.
This represents the second time Eversgerd has worked his way through the minors and into a big league job.
After high school and two seasons at Kaskaskia College, Eversgerd, a left-hander, attended an open tryout for the Cardinals in June 1989. He earned a free-agent contract, which he was able to parlay into a four-year big league career with St. Louis, the Montreal Expos and the Texas Rangers.
He pitched in 76 games, including one start, in 1994-95 and 1997-98. He finished 2-5 with a 5.16 ERA in 96 innings, calling it quits in 2000 after two seasons with Class AAA Memphis in the Cardinals’ system. Eversgerd began coaching with the organization almost immediately. The 2017 season was his fifth in Class AAA.
Eversgerd joked last spring that he “ran out of stuff” during his playing career.
“I could do all the little things,” said Eversgerd, who also pitched in the minor leagues with Boston and San Diego. “I fielded my position and things like that. But I just didn’t have enough stuff at the end of the day.”
Eversgerd has also coached the likes of Michael Wacha, Carlos Martinez, Marco Gonzales, Alex Reyes, Shelby Miller, Tyler Lyons, Sam Tuivailala, Seth Maness and many others.