Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Coaching, Player Moves

The Pirates today named former shortstop Jay Bell, 46, as their hitting coach. Rick Sofield, 55, last season's West Virginia Power manager, was given the first-base coaching position and Dave Jauss, 55, a scouting adviser to Neal Huntington and a former bench coach for several clubs, became the Major League coach.

Bell filled the vacancy created when Gregg Ritchie left to become manager for George Washington University. He played 18 seasons in the show, eight of them in Pittsburgh from 1989 to 1996, where he was an All-Star and Gold Glover in 1993.

He retired in 2003 and was the D-Backs’ bench coach during 2005-06, then went into semi-retirement, spending three more campaigns with the organization as a spring training advisor. In 2012 he returned as the hitting coach for the Mobile Bay Bears, Arizona’s AA club. Bell's now coaching the New Zealand national team which hopes to the qualify for the upcoming World Baseball Classic.

Sofield was a former first round pick (13th overall) of the Minnesota Twins in 1975. Between 1979-81, the outfielder had a slash of .243/9/66 for the Twin Cities.

He retired to college coaching, and later spent 12 years in the minors for the New York Yankees, Montreal Expos, Los Angeles Dodgers, Rockies and Pirates as a manager and minor league coordinator. In 2007, he took over the head coaching reins at South Carolina - Beaufort.

Sofield and Clint Hurdle go way back to their minor league playing days, and the pair worked together in the Colorado Rockies organization (2003 with Triple-A Colorado Springs) and at the Baseball Factory, a development camp for high school players. When Hurdle took over, he brought in Sofield as the manager of Low Class A West Virginia Power last season.

Beside coaching first, he'll be in charge of base running and outfield work. Former first-base coach Luis Silverio was reassigned to become a senior advisor to Latin American operations.

Jauss was a special assistant to general manager Neal Huntington in 2012, generally serving as an advance scout. He was a college coach in the eighties before he got the call from the pro ranks. Between 1988 and 1994, Jauss managed in the Expo system and was the Eastern League Manager of the Year in 1994 at Harrisburg.

He also managed winter baseball in the Dominican Republic and led Licey to the Caribbean Series title in 1999, when he was named DL Manager of the Year. (He also was suspended for two years from the DL for bumping an umpire, chasing after another & ordering a pitcher to bean a batter).

Jauss broke into MLB with Boston from 1997-2006 as a first base coach, minor league coordinator, bench coach, head of player development and chief scout. Jauss was a bench coach for the Dodgers, Orioles and Mets from 2006-10, then was hired by the Pirates in 2011. His dad, a long-time Chicago sportswriter, got him involved in sports, and it doesn't hurt that he has a degree in psychology; there are a lot of psyches that need massaged on the roster.

Jauss interviewed for the Mets' job in 2011 that was won by Terry Collins and was a candidate for the Bucco job in 1997 that went to John Russell.

  • The Pirates released LHP Hisanori Takahashi, who they picked up on waivers from the Angels in August.
  • RHP Daniel McCutchen was DFA'ed and becomes a minor league free agent on Friday if unclaimed. As reported earlier, 1B Jeff Clement and OF/C Erik Fryer were also DFA'ed and can be come free agents (Fryer has already declared for FA status).
  • 3B Pedro Alvarez's $700K option for 2013 was exercised. He'll start his arb years in 2014 and be under team control through 2016. C Rod Barajas' $3.5M option was declined, as expected, and it doesn't look like he'll be back. 
  • Kristy Robinson of Pirates Prospects reports that RHP Vic Black, Altoona's closer, was selected to the Arizona Fall League Rising Stars Roster. 
  • Corey Giger of the Altoona Mirror broke the news that PJ Forbes, the Altoona Curve manager, won't return in 2013. 

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