New Pittsburgh Pirates' manager, Derek Shelton, has gotten right to work assembling his staff. He has tabbed former Pirate player, Don Kelly, to be his bench coach. Kelly served on the Houston Astros coaching staff last season.
Kelly is a native of Mt. Lebanon and attended college at Point Park University. So, this will be a coming home for him. He also had a short stint as a player with the Pirates. He is taking over for Tom Prince, who was fired shortly after Clint Hurdle.
He began his post-playing career as a scout for the Detroit Tigers before the he joined the coaching ranks as the Astros first base coach.
The Pirates also announced that they are retaining a few coaches.
Rick Eckstein, the hitting coach, will be back next season. We highlighted the excellent job that Eckstein has done back in October. The offense saw improvements in plate discipline, hitting to all fields, and situational contact under Eckstein. The Pirates also finished 5th in batting average. So, we see the retention of Eckstein as hitting coach as a win. Jacob Cruz, the assistant hitting coach last season, was hired by the Brewers. But, we should see some continued forward momentum with Eckstein staying put.
It was also announced that Joey Cora, who interviewed to be the Pirates' skipper will be back again as third base coach. Justin Meccage, the assistant pitching coach, will also be back.
Shelton still needs to hire a pitching coach after Ray Searage was let go at the beginning of the off-season.
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