Monday, February 3, 2014
Spring training preview: Coaches
By Richard Durrett
Note: Spring training is just around the corner. To get you ready, we'll take a look at every position between now and when pitchers and catchers report to Surprise, Ariz., in mid-February.
Tim Bogar will replace the familiar face of Jackie Moore as Ron Washington's bench coach.
Today's position: Coaches
The Texas Rangers head to Surprise, Ariz., with some new faces on the coaching staff. For five straight seasons, most of the coaching staff was the same with Dave Anderson and Gary Pettis on the bases (they flipped spots last year with Pettis going to third and Anderson to first), Jackie Moore as the bench coach, Mike Maddux as pitching coach and Andy Hawkins as the bullpen coach.
Things have changed. Manager Ron Washington has a new bench coach in Tim Bogar, who spent time in Tampa Bay and Boston. He'll organize spring training and will be fully involved in how the infield is set. Bogar will also run the advance scouting meetings and be sure that Washington has all of the options at his disposal during a game as key decisions are made.
Bogar is known as someone who will take many pieces of information and utilize them in how players are positioned and decisions are made. Spring training is not only important for the players to jell, but also for coaches. The same goes for Washington and Bogar as they get to know each other.
Anderson, who organized spring training in the past, is also gone. Bengie Molina, a former Ranger, was hired to take Anderson's place at first base and work with the catchers. Bobby Jones, who has been with the organization for decades and was managing Triple-A Round Rock, is the assistant hitting coach in the big league staff.
Dave Magadan returns for his second season as the hitting coach, and the Rangers' offesason additions would appear to mold better with his philosophy on disciplined approaches as both Shin-Soo Choo and Prince Fielder get on base and see a bunch of pitches. Pettis is the third-base coach and outfield coach.
The continuity with the pitchers is intact with Maddux and Hawkins returning for their sixth seasons in their current roles. Hawkins has been with the organization for 12 seasons.
OUTLOOK: It will be interesting to see how long it takes Bogar and Washington to develop chemistry. Washington had that with Moore, who was hired by Nolan Ryan prior to the 2009 season. Bogar is highly respected in the game and should help the club with positioning and the little things needed to make the manager's job easier.
Magadan will now have a second season with the offense, which is a good thing. This team has had a host of hitting coaches, and Magadan has now had a year to work with most of the club's lineup. The pitching staff likes and trusts Maddux and Hawkins.
It has the makings of a good coaching staff, but it just has to get used to working together.