No Hitting Coach For The Yankees? Relax.


Baseball is the most individual of team sports. If a ground ball is hit to shortstop, there’s nothing the centerfielder can do. If I’m at bat against Clayton Kershaw, there’s nothing my hitting coach can do for me – except maybe pray. What’s he going to say, “He’s got a great curveball and uses the fastball to set it up.” Duh. Even Joe Buck could tell you that.

Caitlin Rogers piece explores all the options that Yankees have since letting Kevin Long go a couple of weeks ago. The Yanks have interviewed Chili Davis (who will be coaching Red Sox hitters in the spring), Dave Magadan, and Eric Hinske. They’re considering minor-league hitting coordinator James Rowson, Marcus Thames and Dante Bichette. As you can see by these names, there are no hall-of-famers (or even perennial all-stars). According to Rogers, the Yanks are even mentioning Luis Sojo for the position.

In this age of specialization, where the National League Champions Giants have a hitting coach, assistant hitting coach, a hitting coordinator and three special assistants (on top of a bevy of advance scouts), it’s no wonder that the news of the hitting coach vacancy is causing Yankee fans to chew their fingernails to the nubs, worrying if we’ll ever get another hit.

Relax. While hitting coaches can be helpful as another set of eyes while players watch video playback of at bats or upcoming pitchers, success is mainly up to the individual hitter. Did the pitcher make a mistake? Does the hitter just “have the pitchers number?” What’s the situation in the game or inning?

Hitting coaches are much like quarterbacks in football – they get too much blame when things go wrong and too much credit when things go right. Did Long suddenly lose it, or was he the victim of an aging crew of hitters with diminishing talent?

The keys for his replacement will be getting what they can out of middle of the lineup AARP recipients like Alex Rodriguez, Carlos Beltran and Mark Teixeira; bring along the young kids that will (hopefully) be playing shortstop and second base; get along with Joe Girardi; and to pray.