New Cubs bench coach: 'It's a great fit'

CHICAGO – New Chicago Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde might have a leg up in his new job after spending time in the team's front office since joining the organization in 2011.

The Cubs have admitted their message to the major league team -- especially to hitters -- might not have always gotten through, but with Hyde holding the title of Director of Player Development over the last year and a half he was part of molding that message.

"This past year I got to watch big-league game with (Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer) and be in the meetings with them," Hyde said in a phone interview. "I made sure that our message is being sent all the way through our minor league system. That was my goal this past year."

Now he gets to bring that message to Wrigley Field, along with new manager Rick Renteria, who is learning his new players. Hyde already knows them.

"That's a huge help," he said. "I have experience in that role before. I've managed some of these guys as well in the fall league. I've managed them and against them. I think familiarity helps. I think I have a really good relationship with the players."

Hyde was on the bench for the Florida Marlins in 2010-2011 while in 2009 he managed in the Arizona Fall League. A young Starlin Castro played under him.

"It's a new start," Hyde said about the Cubs shortstop. "Let his abilities play. We're going in with some new faces and a fresh outlook."

Hyde says he interviewed with and was hired by Renteria and thinks it's a "great fit" for them to deliver a winning culture, but admits it's a tough task after years of frustration and a roster in flux.

"We have a real special thing happening," Hyde said. "We're all thinking big picture and this journey we're on and how we're going to be better every day."

After Epstein recently said there were some "mixed messages" being delivered at the major league level it makes sense to have an extension of the front office in the dugout. And one with some experience.

"I learned a ton in my two years as bench coach in Florida," Hyde said.

Maybe getting hired was the easy part for him. Now comes the hard part.

"It's our job to create a winning atmosphere here in Chicago," Hyde said.