Baylor to be named hitting coach
PHOENIX — The D-backs have agreed to terms with Don Baylor to become the team’s hitting coach, an industry source confirmed Monday. An announcement could come later this week.
Baylor, 61, had served as hitting coach for the Rockies in 2009 and 2010 before being dismissed nearly 10 days ago.
Baylor replaces Jack Howell, who was promoted to hitting coach in May of 2009 at the same time that A.J. Hinch was named manager. Howell was dismissed by the D-backs at the end of the 2010 season.
One of the first tasks for Baylor will be to find a way to reduce the number of strikeouts. The D-backs set a Major League record with 1,529 smashing the previous mark of 1,399 set by the 2001 Milwaukee Brewers.
New GM Kevin Towers said during his introductory press conference that cutting down on strikeouts was a priority for him.
“Personally, I like contact hitters,” Towers said at the time. “I like guys that have good pitch recognition. Strikeouts are a part of the game, but if you have four or five of six guys in your lineup [who are prone to strikeout], it’s hard to sustain any sort of rally. I’m a big believer in pitch recognition, grinding out an at-bat, seeing a lot of pitches.”
Baylor played 19 seasons in the big leagues and was the 1979 American League Most Valuable Player. Under his tutelage, the Rockies finished third in the National League in runs scored last year.
Baylor managed the Rockies from 1993-98 and the Cubs from 2000-02. He has spent seven seasons as a batting coach with the Brewers (1990-91), Cardinals (1992), Braves (1999), Mariners (2005) and Rockies (2009-10) and also was bench coach for the Mets in 2003-04.