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KC Cougars

Cougars Notes: Sauveur seeks 'something great to add'

Cougars pitching coach Rich Sauveur's minor league coaching career includes seven seasons as pitching coach with Triple-A Pawtucket (R.I.) in the Boston Red Sox organization.
Cougars pitching coach Rich Sauveur's minor league coaching career includes seven seasons as pitching coach with Triple-A Pawtucket (R.I.) in the Boston Red Sox organization.

New Cougars pitching coach Rich Sauveur summarized his 2015 sabbatical from baseball as “just stepping away for a little bit.”

In the next breath, he called the break the impetus for his return, as well.

A longtime former coach in the Milwaukee Brewers and Boston Red Sox organizations – including seven seasons as pitching coach for Boston’s Triple-A affiliate in Pawtucket (R.I.) – Sauveur is embracing the opportunity to work with Class-A prospects in the Arizona Diamondbacks system.

“I’ve loved this game for years,” Sauveur, 52, said. “I started playing when I was eight years old. It’s part of my life. … Kids will ask me and I”ll tell them stories and what I’ve gone though. And it just seems like every year there’s something new, something great to add.”

Sauveur, a left-hander, made 34 major league appearances with six clubs while pitching in three different decades. The Pittsburgh Pirates selected him in the fifth round of the 1983 draft. His last professional season was in 2000, with the Oakland A’s.

Along the way, he witnessed George Brett’s 3,000th hit while pitching with the 1992 Kansas City Royals, developed an affinity for Frank Thomas with the 1996 White Sox and beamed over having Jason Giambi as a teammate with the 2000 A’s.

Although the on-field results might have been sharper, Sauveur savors the memories and anecdotes he accumulated along with a 6.07 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 46 career innings just the same.

Sauveur did not pitch in the Midwest League as a minor leaguer, but served as Beloit’s pitching coach during the 2003 and 2004 MWL seasons. A three home-run game from the Cougars’ Nelson Cruz remains a recollection.

“I’m looking forward to getting back with the young kids again,” Sauveur said. “It’s a lot of fun. They want to learn and they really show that enthusiasm.”

Sauveur stepped down from his role after seven seasons with Pawtucket. The Red Sox showed a penchant for using major league pitching coaches with experience at the big league level, and his ultimate goal is to be a coach in MLB.

Sauveur resigned without resentment, taking the tack that it was time for a change.

A veteran of winter ball in Latin America both as a player and coach, Sauveur said he speaks some Spanish. His wife hails from Guatemala.

Block party brewing: Cougars owner Dr. Bob Froehlich and general manager Curtis Haug extended the club’s hospitality last summer when the USHL’s Chicago Steel moved operations to Fox Valley Ice Arena, adjacent to Fifth Third Bank Ballpark on the Kirk Road corridor.

Steel brass haven’t forgotten the Cougars’ gesture and are anxious to cultivate a longstanding relationship.

“They’ve been really great neighbors, right from the start,” Steel president Dan Lehv said.

In less than three months, fans will have the opportunity to see both operations at work on the same night. On April 8, the Cougars will host Clinton (Iowa) at 6:30 p.m. while the Steel entertain Muskegon (Michigan) at 7:30.

“I hope we have people going back and forth,” Lehv said. “I hope there’s folks who stop by for the first period of our game, go get a hot dog and a beer at the Cougars game, maybe come back for the third period, and vice-versa.”

Lehv attended a Cougars game with his family shortly after relocating to Geneva from Dubuque, Iowa, where he spent four seasons as president of the USHL club there. Lehv also has extensive experience in minor league and independent baseball, most recently with the St. Paul Saints, whose ownership includes Lehv’s mentor, Mike Veeck.

Veeck, the son of baseball visionary Bill Veeck – whose myriad contributions to the game included introducing ivy to Wrigley Field’s outfield wall – was the inspiration and a distinguished guest for the Cougars’ “Night of 100 Promotions” in August 2011.

“Mike’s always in my mind,” Lehv said. “Everything that we think about as an organization, it does, it comes back to great customer service. In the end, you want to be treated well wherever you go, and it’s the human touch that separates whether or not you have a really good experience or whether it’s not a place that you want to spend 21/2, three hours with your family. So I’m always thinking about Mike when we talk about those things.”

Big on Bell: By definition, 2015 Cougars pitching coach Doug Bochtler joined a rival organization when he became the San Diego Padres’ bullpen coach last month.

The tenets of the National League West notwithstanding, Bochtler said he always will revere the D’backs executives who gave him an opportunity to coach five seasons ago, namely farm director Mike Bell, a champion of collaborative thinking.

“He was able to cultivate an environment where we had the ability to learn, we had the ability to make mistakes, we had the ability to connect to one another in a much different way,” Bochtler said. “Some people that come from outside the organization, they’re constantly reminding people in the Diamondbacks organization that this is not the way that it’s done everywhere else. So for Mike Bell to cultivate that environment, I feel really grateful to have started my coaching career there. I really have nothing but great things to say about that organization.”

New Cougars pitching coach Rich Sauveur summarized his 2015 sabbatical from baseball as “just stepping away for a little bit.”

In the next breath, he called the break the impetus for his return, as well.

A longtime former coach in the Milwaukee Brewers and Boston Red Sox organizations – including seven seasons as pitching coach for Boston’s Triple-A affiliate in Pawtucket (R.I.) – Sauveur is embracing the opportunity to work with Class-A prospects in the Arizona Diamondbacks system.

“I’ve loved this game for years,” Sauveur, 52, said. “I started playing when I was eight years old. It’s part of my life. … Kids will ask me and I”ll tell them stories and what I’ve gone though. And it just seems like every year there’s something new, something great to add.”

Sauveur, a left-hander, made 34 major league appearances with six clubs while pitching in three different decades. The Pittsburgh Pirates selected him in the fifth round of the 1983 draft. His last professional season was in 2000, with the Oakland A’s.

Along the way, he witnessed George Brett’s 3,000th hit while pitching with the 1992 Kansas City Royals, developed an affinity for Frank Thomas with the 1996 White Sox and beamed over having Jason Giambi as a teammate with the 2000 A’s.

Although the on-field results might have been sharper, Sauveur savors the memories and anecdotes he accumulated along with a 6.07 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 46 career innings just the same.

Sauveur did not pitch in the Midwest League as a minor leaguer, but served as Beloit’s pitching coach during the 2003 and 2004 MWL seasons. A three home-run game from the Cougars’ Nelson Cruz remains a recollection.

“I’m looking forward to getting back with the young kids again,” Sauveur said. “It’s a lot of fun. They want to learn and they really show that enthusiasm.”

Sauveur stepped down from his role after seven seasons with Pawtucket. The Red Sox showed a penchant for using major league pitching coaches with experience at the big league level, and his ultimate goal is to be a coach in MLB.

Sauveur resigned without resentment, taking the tack that it was time for a change.

A veteran of winter ball in Latin America both as a player and coach, Sauveur said he speaks some Spanish. His wife hails from Guatemala.

Block party brewing: Cougars owner Dr. Bob Froehlich and general manager Curtis Haug extended the club’s hospitality last summer when the USHL’s Chicago Steel moved operations to Fox Valley Ice Arena, adjacent to Fifth Third Bank Ballpark on the Kirk Road corridor.

Steel brass haven’t forgotten the Cougars’ gesture and are anxious to cultivate a longstanding relationship.

“They’ve been really great neighbors, right from the start,” Steel president Dan Lehv said.

In less than three months, fans will have the opportunity to see both operations at work on the same night. On April 8, the Cougars will host Clinton (Iowa) at 6:30 p.m. while the Steel entertain Muskegon (Michigan) at 7:30.

“I hope we have people going back and forth,” Lehv said. “I hope there’s folks who stop by for the first period of our game, go get a hot dog and a beer at the Cougars game, maybe come back for the third period, and vice-versa.”

Lehv attended a Cougars game with his family shortly after relocating to Geneva from Dubuque, Iowa, where he spent four seasons as president of the USHL club there. Lehv also has extensive experience in minor league and independent baseball, most recently with the St. Paul Saints, whose ownership includes Lehv’s mentor, Mike Veeck.

Veeck, the son of baseball visionary Bill Veeck – whose myriad contributions to the game included introducing ivy to Wrigley Field’s outfield wall – was the inspiration and a distinguished guest for the Cougars’ “Night of 100 Promotions” in August 2011.

“Mike’s always in my mind,” Lehv said. “Everything that we think about as an organization, it does, it comes back to great customer service. In the end, you want to be treated well wherever you go, and it’s the human touch that separates whether or not you have a really good experience or whether it’s not a place that you want to spend 21/2, three hours with your family. So I’m always thinking about Mike when we talk about those things.”

Big on Bell: By definition, 2015 Cougars pitching coach Doug Bochtler joined a rival organization when he became the San Diego Padres’ bullpen coach last month.

The tenets of the National League West notwithstanding, Bochtler said he always will revere the D’backs executives who gave him an opportunity to coach five seasons ago, namely farm director Mike Bell, a champion of collaborative thinking.

“He was able to cultivate an environment where we had the ability to learn, we had the ability to make mistakes, we had the ability to connect to one another in a much different way,” Bochtler said. “Some people that come from outside the organization, they’re constantly reminding people in the Diamondbacks organization that this is not the way that it’s done everywhere else. So for Mike Bell to cultivate that environment, I feel really grateful to have started my coaching career there. I really have nothing but great things to say about that organization.”

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