We’ve talked about this for a few years now, but one major key to the Rangers’ success is the coaching staff. It’s a hard-working bunch that understands the players and likes and respects each other.
Today's position: Coaching staff (we'll get into Ron Washington tomorrow)
Pitching coach Mike Maddux is back for his fourth season and has helped transform the Rangers from an organization that many thought was simply big bats into one that has a pitching staff near the top in most categories in the AL.
Maddux has the ability to discover what each individual pitcher needs and how best to help him. The staff has changed a bit the past few years, but he’s done what he can to get the most out of it. That challenge continues in 2012 as he’ll oversee the transition Yu Darvish makes as he attempts to get big league hitters out. Maddux’s role in that process will be critical.
One thing you hear players talk about all the time is how hard Maddux and bullpen coach Andy Hawkins work. They are at the park early looking at video and helping prepare the scouting report on the opposing hitters for their pitchers. They’ll look at mechanics and help make adjustments there; anything they can do to help give their guys an edge. Hawkins is a big component of that combination and he helps run things out in the bullpen every game too, making sure guys are prepared to get in the games and watching throwing sessions, etc.
On the hitting side of things, Scott Coolbaugh took over for Thad Bosley in May of last year when it was clear Bosley’s communication style wasn’t meshing with the club. Coolbaugh had the advantage of already working with many of the players at Triple-A and he came in and developed a trust with the offensive group. He returns for his first full season.
Around the bases, Dave Anderson returns at third base and will help coach the infielders. Gary Pettis, the baserunning guru, is back at first. And the wily old sage of the staff, Jackie Moore, will be by Washington’s side in the dugout as the bench coach.
One coach won’t be back. That’s Johnny Narron, who was an assistant hitting coach and is now the hitting coach in Milwaukee.
And while the athletic trainers, equipment and medical staff aren’t considered coaches, they are critical to getting the players ready to play. That includes Jamie Reed, head athletic trainer, who returns for his 10th season as medical director, and assistant athletic trainers Kevin Harmon and Matt Lucero. Raul Cardenas is the massage therapist. Jose Vazquez is the strength and conditioning coach, and if you’re walking around the back fields in Surprise you’ll see him on the half-football field working out players. Richard “Hoggy” Price is back as the home clubhouse equipment manager, and Kelly Terrell will work the visitor’s clubhouse. Josh Frasier returns for his 12th season with the Rangers and is the bullpen catcher, and Chris Lyngos will once again handle all of the travel arrangements.