Joe Torre 'always admired' Greg Maddux

PHOENIX -- When Joe Torre called Greg Maddux to ask him to be the pitching coach for Team USA, Greg was convinced that Torre had the wrong number.

"He thought I called the wrong Maddux," Torre said. Greg Maddux's brother, Mike, is the pitching coach for the Texas Rangers. "He said, 'Well, let me think about it.' He called me back the next day and said he'd love to."

Greg is busy helping his brother coach pitchers in Surprise, Ariz., with the Rangers. Greg's title is special assistant to the GM, but he helps the pitchers prepare for the season in spring training and then travels from time-to-time to the minor league clubs (and rejoins the big league club when needed) during the season.

Now, he'll get a chance to share his wisdom with a group of pitchers for the United States team in the World Baseball Classic, which starts in early March.

"I think that it's going to be a benefit for these pitchers to be exposed to this guy for a few weeks," Torre said. "I think it's going to be a great benefit for them because they certainly know who he is and what he is about. He's so dedicated. He finds a way to win. He was never 95 mph. It was about trying to outsmart you, out-finesse you, whatever it was. He had a great look in his eye."

Torre said he was asked recently if there was on player he would have liked to have managed and he said that Maddux was that player until late in the 2008 season, when Greg joined Torre in a Dodger uniform.

"I always admired what he did," Torre said. "He used to frustrate me watching it because it was against my teams. I always just admired how business-like he was and how grounded he was. When I got him over with the Dodgers he was every bit what you hoped he would be."