Texas Rangers try new approach, hire Donnie Ecker, 35, as bench coach and offensive coordinator

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers have hired Donnie Ecker as their bench coach and also offensive coordinator, a role in which he will oversee the organization's overall hitting program at both the major and minor league levels.

Texas is coming off a 102-loss season and ranked 29th in the majors with a .232 team batting average. The Rangers were last with a .670 OPS, and their American League-low 625 runs were 34 fewer than what the Baltimore Orioles produced.

Ecker was introduced Monday as the replacement for bench coach Don Wakamatsu, who was not retained after the season. The 35-year-old Ecker spent the past two seasons as a hitting coach for the San Francisco Giants.

The Rangers also didn't bring back hitting instructors Luis Ortiz and Callix Crabbe. Those positions have not yet been filled by the team.

Texas also hired Josh Bonifay as director of player development. He was previously with the Rangers as major league field coordinator in 2017, and he spent the past three seasons as director of player development for Philadelphia.

During Ecker's time in San Francisco, the Giants improved from 14th in the National League with a .694 OPS in 2019 to leading the league at .769 this season. The Giants finished second in the NL with 804 runs scored this year, and they set a franchise record with 241 home runs.

Rangers manager Chris Woodward said Ecker would have a significant say in who is hired as the team's new hitting coach.

"It has to be somebody that he trusts, that he understands and that speaks the same language," Woodward said. "We're going to put our heads together. It's exciting because I feel like we can kind of take the next step in this game right now."