ARLINGTON, Texas -- It's not every day that a major league team that is second in the American League in batting average, fourth in runs scored and first in its division changes its hitting coach. But the Rangers replaced Thad Bosley with Scott Coolbaugh today in large part because the coach didn't communicate well enough with his team.
Perhaps outfielder Josh Hamilton said it best.
"He just didn’t fit with us," Hamilton said, noting that Bosley was a "good guy with a good heart."
“He’s a professional in the way he approaches the game and teaches the game, but it just didn’t mesh with our clubhouse. It was communication -- not a lot there.
"You’d like to have somebody that knows when to back off, knows when to approach, gets what they want to get across to you, but find out your personality and find out how to get it across to you. Those things just didn’t happen the way they needed to."
Several players said they didn't feel like they were listened to and that the coach wasn't able to do enough to help them. Elvis Andrus said he wanted a coach that was more into the mental side of hitting and he felt Bosley was mainly mechanical.
"I think for me I need a hitting coach that can teach me and make me better mentally more than physically," Andrus said. "I wish him the best, but he was more physical and technique. I don’t get into much mechanic stuff. I’m more like a mental guy. For me a great hitting coach, that’s what I like. Rudy [Jaramillo] and Clint [Hurdle], they were more into the mental part of the game. I know Coolbaugh will be our new hitting coach. I worked with him in Double-A and I think he’s a great hitting coach."
That's where a different style appears to have hurt Bosley's chances of success. Jaramillo, the club's longtime hitting coach before his departure after the 2009 season, and Hurdle, who was the hitting coach last year before taking the manager's job with the Pirates this season, were big proponents of the mental game. Hurdle used to text players and coaches with various quotes designed to get them motivated, and he constantly preached situational hitting and how to approach things without getting too much into swings.
"Hitting is mental and mechanical," Hamilton said. "Basically at this level, you need eyes to watch you because you know your swing. You get in funks where you feel like you know what’s wrong, you go back and look at video to confirm it, have a hitting coach that's there to confirm it with you and take steps forward to correct it. The communication was just lacking a lot."
Sources confirmed that Bosley had a few run-ins with players, much of it stemming from miscommunications. But the bottom line was he wasn't on the same page as the rest of the team, and the club decided it needed someone who could blend in better.
"We felt like at this point that the fit wasn’t right," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "Nothing about Thad’s credentials or work ethic or what he did. Sometimes, time and place aren’t right and we felt like that was the case and we felt like a different fit might be better for the club moving forward."
Coolbaugh's familiarity with the hitters and the way the Rangers operate should help. He's dealt with most of them either in the minors, during rehab stints or in spring training.