NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — While the team may still be a work in progress, the Yankees have their entire coaching staff in place.
On Monday they announced three new hires, including Jeff Pentland, the long-awaited replacement for hitting instructor Kevin Long, who was let go at the end of last season.
The Yankees fired Long in October after the Bombers missed the playoffs for the second straight season. The Yankees finished 13th in the AL in runs scored and 11th with a .245 team batting average.
Long wasn’t unemployed long, as the Mets swooped in and hired him on Oct. 23.
As for the story on Pentland, the Yankees’ new hitting guru has worked as a hitting coach for five major league teams, including the-then Florida Marlins (1996), Chicago Cubs (1997-2002), Kansas City Royals (2003-05), Seattle Mariners (2005-08) and Los Angeles Dodgers (2010-11).
Pentland, 68, worked as the Miami Marlins’ hitting coordinator last season.
Alan Cockrell will be Pentland’s assistant and Joe Espada will be the Yankees’ third base coach, replacing Mick Kelleher, who was fired along with Long back in October. Cockrell, 52, worked as a hitting coach with the Colorado Rockies from 2007-08, and the Mariners from 2009-10.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman provided rationale on the need for an assistant hitting coach to the club’s official website.
“Talking to the opposing teams that do have it, (an assistant hitting coach) is work relief for the head guy,” Cashman said several weeks ago. “It frees the head guy up to focus on a lot of different things. The second chair can pick up some of the tedious slack that builds up from advanced scouting, make sure the cage is covered when the main guy is out on the field and can’t be two places at the same time. It’s just a coverage issue.”
A former third-base coach for the Marlins, Espada, 39, was hired over former major league player, coach and manager Willie Randolph.
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