Following the dismissal of former Tigers hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh, A.J. Hinch said it was time for a hitting department. Looks like he's got one.
The Tigers on Tuesday announced the hirings of two major league hitting coaches in Michael Brdar from the Padres and Keith Beauregard from the Dodgers and an assistant major league hitting coach in James Rowson from the Marlins.
"The goal is to enhance the coaching staff," Hinch said after Detroit finished last in the majors last season in runs, homers, walks and OPS while scoring less than 3.5 runs per game for the first time since 1906. "That’s with different voices, but some of that may also be different roles. You don’t have to do it the same exact way you’ve always done it. We’ll look into building a hitting department, whatever the skillsets are, whatever the balance is."
Brdar comes to Detroit after spending last season as the hitting coach for the Padres, who posted one of the best strikeout-to-walk ratios in the majors. That dovetails with Tigers new president of baseball operations Scott Harris' focus on "controlling the strike zone." Brdar also overlapped with Harris for two seasons with the Giants.
Brdar got his start in coaching at the University of Michigan, where he also played from 2016-17 on his way to being drafted by the Cardinals.
Beauregard spent the last four seasons with the Dodgers, first as a minor league hitting instructor and then as a minor league field coordinator. He still holds several hitting records from his playing days at Saint Anselm College.
Rowson is the most experienced of the three, having spent 20 seasons coaching in the pros. He was the hitting coach for the Twins in 2019 when they clubbed an MLB record 307 homers, and spent the past three seasons as the Marlins bench coach. He's also been a minor league hitting coordinator for the Yankees and the Cubs.
At the outset of his search, Hinch said he was more interested in the variety of voices than the "number of voices."
"We have an opportunity to build something interesting and good for the players," he said. "I don’t want to go too crazy, but it’s important to reach every angle. If you just look at our clubhouse, you have a 21-year-old Riley Greene and a 40-year-old Miguel Cabrera. One hitting coach can get both of those guys? That’d be a unicorn, so it’s important for us to blend it."
The Tigers also confirmed on Tuesday the hiring of assistant major league pitching coach Robin Lund, a former professor who comes to Detroit with an extensive background in kinesiology.
And they announced Ryne Eubanks as the club's new head athletic trainer. Eubanks, who holds a degree in kinesiology-exercise science, spent the past nine seasons on the medical staff of the Diamondbacks.