Yankees hire 2 new hitting coaches

NEW YORK -- The Yankees fired hitting coach Kevin Long shortly after the regular season ended. In replacing Long, the team has taken its time, ultimately deciding that two hitting coaches are better than one.

The team has announced the hiring of Jeff Pentland, a 68-year-old with a long résumé, as the main hitting coach. He will be joined by Alan Cockrell, who will be the assistant hitting coach, a newly created position for the Yankees.

The two will be joined by Joe Espada. He will be the team's new infield coach, replacing Mick Kelleher, who also was fired.

Espada will coach third, while Rob Thomson, who coached third last year, will become the bench coach. Tony Pena, last year's bench coach, will be the first-base coach.

Pentland has been a hitting coach for five major league clubs, most recently with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2011. He was the Marlins' hitting coordinator in 2014. Pentland was the hitting coach for the Chicago Cubs for a couple of years when Yankees manager Joe Girardi was a player. Pentland never played in the majors.

Cockrell, 52, played nine games for the Colorado Rockies in 1996. He was the ninth pick in the 1984 draft by the San Francisco Giants.

The Yankees had considered adding an assistant hitting coach for a few seasons but never made the move. Many teams employ multiple hitting coaches.

Espada had been a special assistant to Yankees general manager Brian Cashman. Espada, 39, also never played in the majors. He had previously been a third-base coach for the Miami Marlins.