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The Cubs announced Wednesday that they had hired former Texas Rangers hitting instructor Rudy Jaramillo.Player sources told ESPNChicago.com on Tuesday that Jaramillo would sign a three-year, $2.42 million contract. "Rudy Jaramillo is widely regarded as the premiere hitting instructor in the game," Cubs GM Jim Hendry said. "The addition of Rudy to our franchise is a strong statement from our new owners, the Ricketts family, and we thank them for allowing us to move quickly to fill this important role with the best in the business."
Jaramillo spent the last 15 years with Texas and has had 17 players win Silver Slugger awards under his guidance. The new Cubs' hitting coach resurrected the careers of slugger Sammy Sosa, Mark DeRosa and Gary Matthews, Jr. to name just a few of the hundreds of hitters he has impacted in his tenure in Texas.
The 59-year-old Texas native coached both Alfonso Soriano and Milton Bradley during their time with the Rangers. Bradley had his best major league season in 2008 under Jaramillo's tutelage when he lead the AL in OPS.
The Rangers offered Jaramillo just a one-year deal at a modest raise over his 2009 contract of $650,000 to stay in Texas, sources said. Due to economic problems with the team's ownership, nobody was offered more than a one-year deal. The Rangers are now up for sale.
Once Hendry heard that Jaramillo was a free agent, the Cubs jumped in with both feet, hoping to entice Jaramillo to the north side of Chicago. During the 2009 campaign the Cubs released hitting coach Gerald Perry and told his replacement, Von Joshua, that he would not return in the role. The team's run production fell from a league-high 855 runs in 2008 to 707 in 2009.Bruce Levine covers baseball for ESPNChicago.com.