The Texas Rangers moved closer to finding a hitting coach Monday and could make a decision as soon as Tuesday on a replacement for Rudy Jaramillo.
Four finalists -- Thad Bosley, Rusty Greer, Clint Hurdle and Gerald Perry -- interviewed with club officials, including president Nolan Ryan, general manager Jon Daniels, manager Ron Washington, bench coach Jackie Moore, senior director of baseball operations Don Welke, senior adviser of baseball operations John Hart and senior executive vice president Jim Sundberg. Daniels said it was a possibility that the club would make an offer Tuesday.
"It was a long day, but a good day," said Daniels, who is searching for a new hitting coach after Jaramillo declined the club's one-year offer and signed a three-year deal with the Chicago Cubs last month. "Each guy is very qualified in his own right. It's a unique mix of guys with different experiences, personalities and styles of communication. They are all very similar in the team-oriented approach that they talk about and believe in."
The new coach will be charged with helping an offense whose production declined sharply in 2009. Texas scored 784 runs, the fewest for a full season since 1992. They hit .260 as a team, the lowest average since moving into Rangers Ballpark in Arlington in 1994, and the club's .320 on-base percentage was 12th in the American League.
All four hitting coach candidates have ties to manager Ron Washington, and all but Rusty Greer have experience in the major leagues as a hitting instructor.
Bosley was hitting coach of the Oakland Athletics for two seasons, and Perry was on the staff for one season during Washington's stay in Oakland. Washington coached Greer in the Arizona Fall League during Greer's playing days as a member of the Rangers. When Hurdle was managing Triple-A Tidewater in the New York Mets organization in 1992, Washington was his third-base coach.
"I think it's critical that the manager has a strong relationship with the guys on his staff," Daniels said. "I would not have any concern in that regard with any of these four guys. Not that a previous relationship is a prerequisite, but it obviously accelerates that bond."
All of four candidates have a wealth of experience in the game. Even though Greer has not been a major league hitting coach, he certainly knows a thing or two about batting. He had a career .305 batting average and a .378 on-base percentage. And he's worked with hitters at Texas Wesleyan and in the Collegiate Summer League.
Hurdle, who was fired as the Colorado Rockies manager May 29, was the Rockies' hitting coach for six seasons until he became manager. During his tenure, the Rockies went to the World Series in 2007.
"I had some ideas on how to maximize the skill level of the hitters," Hurdle said of his meeting with Rangers officials. "And they have a lot of skilled hitters. The next step is to take the offensive game to a consistent level. You know you can score 10 runs, but can you score three when you need too? Can you score four?
"The significance of a run has taken on a greater meaning in Texas with the pitching and defense improving the way they have."
Perry coached hitters for the last 10 seasons with Seattle, Pittsburgh, Oakland and Chicago. He was dismissed by the Cubs on June 14 as they were near the bottom of the National League in runs scored. Perry played for 13 seasons in the major leagues.
Richard Durrett covers the Texas Rangers for ESPNDallas.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.