The New York Yankees will replace hitting coach Kevin Long with two coaches for the first time.
Jeff Pentland, a long-time major league assistant, will be the main hitting coach. Alan Cockrell will be the assistant hitting coach, a newly created position for the Yankees. Several MLB teams employ multiple hitting coaches.
Long was fired after last season. Pentland, 68, has been a hitting coach for five major league teams, including the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2011. He also worked with Yankees manager Joe Girardi when both were on the Chicago Cubs; Girardi played his second stint with the Cubs from 2000-02, while Pentland was the team's hitting coach from 1997-02.
Pentland also worked with Yankees bench coach Tony Pena when Pena managed the Kansas City Royals in 2003-05 (Pena also managed KC in 2002).
Pentland has been hitting coach for Marlins, Cubs (worked with Girardi), Royals (when Pena was MGR/Beltran a player), Mariners and Dodgers.— Jack Curry (@JackCurryYES) January 11, 2015
Pentland, who is 68, has strong resume as a hitting coach and has worked with the likes of Bonds, Sheffield, Beltran, Kemp, Sosa.— Jack Curry (@JackCurryYES) January 11, 2015
Cockrell, 52, played in nine games for the Colorado Rockies in 1996 and was later a hitting coach with the Rockies (2006-08) and Seattle Mariners (2009-10). The Rockies made the World Series in 2007, and finished second in the National League with 5.28 runs scored per game during the regular season.
The Yankees also will hire Joe Espada as infield coach, according to Curry. Espada, 39, will replace Mick Kelleher, who was not brought back after 16 seasons with the club, including the last six on the MLB staff. Espada was a special assistant to Yankees general manager Brian Cashman last season, and was previously a third base coach for the Miami Marlins.
Former Yankees second baseman and third base coach Willie Randolph also reportedly interviewed for the job that went to Espada.
The 2015 season will be Girardi's eighth as the manager of the Yankees. He has went 648-486 with the club, including four postseason appearances and one World Series championship in 2009.
- Mike Fiammetta