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Brian Cashman: Latest on Search For Yankees Assistant Hitting Coach

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Brian Cashman gave an update on New York's search to replace Eric Chavez on the Yankees' coaching staff.

After assistant hitting coach Eric Chavez bolted for a promotion with the crosstown rival Mets, the Yankees are now stuck scrambling to find a replacement.

And although they have yet to begin interviewing potential candidates, general manager Brian Cashman said they are currently vetting individuals in order to start this process in the near future.

But as the Yankees compile interviewees to possibly fill this role, the qualifications for the position are a lot broader than one might expect.

While Chavez played in the big-leagues for 17 seasons, winning six Gold Glove Awards and a Silver Slugger with the Oakland Athletics, the Yankees are not necessarily looking for someone with a similar résumé.

“What I value first and foremost is finding the best candidate that's going to positively impact the players,” Cashman told reporters on Wednesday. “When you're working through the player world that we do nowadays, the one thing we've learned over the course of time more and more, is we're reminded of the 'who did the players gravitate to?'”

READ: Aaron Boone Not Sweating Staff’s Lack of Big League Playing Experience

As Cashman went on to explain, the game is changing, which means players aren’t only drawn to retired greats with extensive track records on the major league diamond, but individuals with different types of backgrounds that carry unique skillsets as well.

This may include a hitting coach from a private sector without professional playing experience, someone from the college ranks or a career minor leaguer. And as baseball continues to evolve, organizations are starting to employ more coaches or staff members whose prior studies allow them to properly utilize technology to help make an impact on the best and brightest stars on the field. Cashman also pointed out that some of the top players around the league have go-to people who did not play in the majors.

As a result, the Yankees are open to speaking with a diverse array of individuals for their assistant hitting coach vacancy and are casting a wide net in this search. Cashman says they will not limit themselves to only evaluating targets with professional playing experience for their coaching staff.

“We value the experience they can bring, but we value first and foremost, who can potentially positively impact our players and get the most out of them,” said Cashman. “And we've learned and recognized by our players, by our major league players that are existing in the game today, that comes in very different forms and fashions.

“It ultimately comes down to players wanting to believe in the person that's instructing them, believe in the person that's guiding them, knowing that they have their best interests at heart and that they have the tools to find a way to unlock all the talents they possess.”

One name that has been publicly linked to the Yankees’ hitting coach vacancy is a former big-leaguer. Retired infielder/outfielder Eric Hinske, who played 12 seasons in the majors from 2002 to 2013, is in the mix for this job, among other candidates, per Jon Heyman of MLB Network.

Hinske was a member of the Yankees’ 2009 World Series Championship team. He was also a scout for the Yankees for a brief period of time during the 2013-2014 offseason, before joining the Cubs as their first base coach in December of 2013. He was then promoted to assistant hitting coach in Chicago after one season, which is a role he served in until after the 2017 campaign. Hinske was the Angels’ hitting coach for one season in 2018 but was replaced by Jeremy Reed. Hinske spent the last three seasons as the Diamondbacks’ assistant hitting coach, however, he was let go following the 2021 season.

Although Hinske is under consideration, that doesn’t mean the Yankees are narrowing their list down to just former big-leaguers, as previously mentioned. While this future hire may very well wind up being an ex-major league player, the Yankees could outside the box to replace Chavez.

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