The Texas Rangers aren’t changing anymore coaches, but they are changing two coaching positions for the 2013 season.
Gary Pettis will coach third base and Dave Anderson will move to first base, switching the jobs they’ve had for at least the last four seasons. Pettis has actually coached first the past six seasons, while Anderson took over the third-base coaching duties in 2009. That alteration is the only one in addition to Dave Magadan coming in as the hitting coach.
So why the switch of base coaches?
“The name of the game is scoring runs. I think because of his baserunning prowess when he was a player, I think he’ll be able to react a lot more quickly with the ball is in the outfield,” said manager Ron Washington, who has been the club’s skipper the past six season and helped them win consecutive AL titles in 2010 and 2011. “He’ll be able to take more chances and be able to tell if a runner can make it.”
Washington noted that the team did not steal bases at the same clip in 2012 as they did in previous seasons. The Rangers had 91 stolen bases last season. Only two teams – Detroit and Baltimore – had fewer. Texas swiped 143 bases in 2011, fourth in the AL.
Part of that decline was that opposing teams paid a lot more attention to the Rangers on the bases, with pitchers keeping a closer eye on them. But running the bases is a big part of Washington’s idea of a versatile offense and he’s hoping the switch can help them get back to what they did in 2011.
“I wanted to do what I felt was best to help the team use all the instincts that we can,” Washington said. “Gary being the baserunning guy he is, I wanted to get him on the other side and use that expertise on the basepaths and put the runs on the board that we feel we didn’t get done last year.
“This isn’t a demotion to Dave. This gives Dave a chance to move over to the other side and work on the technical part of it and make sure moving from first around the basepaths is taken care of.”
The Rangers scored a league-high 808 runs, but didn’t execute as consistently in key run-scoring situations like getting runners home from third with one out or producing with runners in scoring position.
Pettis, 54, remains the club’s outfield coach, and the 52-year-old Anderson continues to serve as the infield instructor.
The rest of the coaching staff remains for 2013, including bench coach Jackie Moore, bullpen coach Andy Hawkins and pitching coach Mike Maddux.