Steve Dillard on His River Bandits

The manager of the Quad Cities River Bandits of the Midwest League discusses his club's first half.

2009 marks the fifth season of Steve Dillard's coaching career spent in the Quad Cities and his fourth season as manager. The Mississippi native first guided the Quad City River Bandits in 1993-1994, then an Astros affiliate, and returned as skipper for the 2008 season with the Cardinals.

Dillard entered the 2009 season with a career 181-221 record and has already broken the franchise record for games managed, previously held by Eddie Rodriguez with the Quad Cities Angels (1987-89). He will soon claim the all-time franchise records for wins (210) to go along with his unenviable loss mark (the previous record was 233). Dillard enters play on Saturday with a 206-249 career record through 455 games.

The baseball veteran began his coaching career after retiring as a player in 1982. He briefly stepped away from professional ball as his three sons progressed in their collegiate and professional playing careers. Dillard returned in 2006 as the hitting coach for the Swing of the Quad Cities and moved to the Palm Beach Cardinals in the same capacity in 2007.

Prior to his coaching career, Dillard spent eight seasons in the big leagues as an infielder. His three years with the Chicago Cubs included a career-high .283 batting average in 1979. The youngest of his three sons, Tim Dillard, made his major league debut as a reliever with the Milwaukee Brewers during the 2008 season.

I spoke with Dillard prior to Friday's contest with the Burlington Bees as his club played for and accomplished a road series split. The Bandits have not taken a series in their last five but have won three of their last five games in a modest show of improvement after dropping 10 of 11 contests from May 20-June 1.

With just one homestand remaining in the first half of the Midwest League 2009 season, I asked Dillard about his view of the season and his players to date. We had a long and interesting discussion. The audio follows.

(12:02)

In other Quad Cities news, outfielder Jon Edwards is taking batting practice and is tentatively scheduled to return to the line-up midweek next week. He suffered a pulled quad muscle on May 22.

Cards Minor League Hitting Coordinator Dan Radison is with the club. In addition to Edwards, Radison singled out outfielder Travis Mitchell as another improving Quad Cities player.



Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnation.com. Catch his Cardinals commentary daily at his blog, The Cardinal Nation.

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