San Francisco Giants fans will recognize at least a couple of the initial names on new manager Bob Melvin’s coaching staff, the first additions of which were finalized Friday evening.
Matt Williams, a star third baseman for the Roger Craig/Dusty Baker-led teams of the late-80s and early-90s, will serve as third base coach, reprising the role he held on Melvins’s staff in San Diego the past two seasons. Pat Burrell, a member of the 2010 World Series team, will bring his brusk style and familiarity with the Giants’ young core of positions players as the hitting coach.
Another Melvin disciple, Ryan Christenson, will follow him from San Diego as his bench coach.
The staff, which will be rounded out in the coming weeks, also includes a number of holdovers from the 13-person contingent under Gabe Kapler.
With Williams taking over as third base coach, Mark Hallberg will move across the diamond and take over duties in the first base coaches’ box, supplanting Antoan Richardson. Considered a rising star within the game, Hallberg interviewed for the Giants’ managerial post, as did Alyssa Nakken, who will also stay on board for her fifth season as an assistant coach.
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Like Nakken, Taira Uematsu’s time in the organization dated back to Bruce Bochy’s days, and will also stay on in his third season on the major-league coaching staff.
With director of pitching Brian Bannister already having departed for the White Sox and pitching coach Andrew Bailey expected to pursue opportunities closer to his family on the East Coast, there will be at least some stability in the Giants’ pitching department, with assistant pitching coach J.P. Martinez returning for a fourth season.
The Giants hope that Burrell, who has worked extensively with their young hitters as a roving minor-league coach the past four seasons, can serve as an antidote for an offense that ranked near the bottom of the majors for the second half of last season. Their anemic performance suggested a shakeup could be on the way, but Justin Viele and Pedro Guerrero will both return in the same roles.
While Kapler was the sacrificial lamb, the 13-person staff he assembled was considered a strength within the organization, as evidenced by the half dozen of them sticking around. One well-liked and respected member of that staff who will not be returning is Craig Albernaz, the catching and bullpen coach, who on Friday was announced as Stephen Vogt’s major-league field coordinator on his new staff in Cleveland.
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