WASHINGTON -- Nationals first-base coach Tony Tarasco said when anybody in the organization needs cheering up, bench coach Randy Knorr is the one who perks them up.
Right now, the coaching staff and players have Knorr on their minds, for his wife, Kimberly, passed away recently. The coaching staff found out about her passing early Tuesday.
Manager Matt Williams then told the players later that day. Most of them have a history of playing for Knorr in the Minor Leagues. Funeral services for Kimberly Knorr have not been announced.
"We are a family. Any time you lose a member of that family, it's a long day," Williams said. "All of us know Kimberly well. She was a vital part of our efforts in Spring Training, especially Wheelchairs 4 Kids. It had fantastic support from the team. All of the guys know her personally. It's tragic news. We will lift Randy as much as we can from afar -- for now. When he gets back, we will support him as much as we can. It's never easy to lose one of your family."
Williams announced that defensive coach Mark Weidemaier will fill in as bench coach until Knorr gets back to the team.
Tarasco wishes the team could be there physically for Knorr.
"Randy is like a brother," Tarasco said. "I wish we were present to help [him]. It's tough not being there for him. I know he knows it's there."
Closer Drew Storen has known Knorr dating back to 2010 when both were with Double-A Harrisburg. Storen called Knorr one of the best baseball people he has ever been around.
"He is such a great person. We are a family. I can't imagine what he is going through right now," Storen said. "It's tough to put into words. It puts things in perspective. I understand this game is important, but there are certain things like that you can't put a price on."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an
MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on
Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.