The Pittsburgh Pirates announced several coaching changes for the 2017 season. Kimera Bartee was named the first base, outfield and base-running coach, Joey Cora was named the third base coach and infield coach and Tom Prince was named the bench coach.
Bartee served as the Pirates’ minor league outfield and base-running coach for nine seasons. He made several trips to Pittsburgh while filling this role, so he’s familiar with the team and its strategy on the basepaths. He also served as manager of the State College Spikes in 2011.
During his playing career, Bartee was named the best International League base runner and defensive outfielder. He carried this over to a six-year major league career that included time with the Detroit Tigers, Cincinnati Reds and Colorado Rockies.
Cora was the manager with the Double-A Altoona Curve last season, and his team posted a 76-54 record, which earned it a wild card berth. During an 11-year major league career, Cora, a former first-round draft pick, had stops with the San Diego Padres, Chicago White Sox, Seattle Mariners and Cleveland Indians.
Cora was on the White Sox Major League coaching staff for eight seasons under former manager Ozzie Guillen, and Cora served as the third base coaching during the team’s 2005 World Series victory. Cora served as the bench coach in his final five seasons with the White Sox. When Guillen went to the Miami Marlins, he asked Cora to join his coaching staff as bench coach and infield instructor in 2012.
After the Curve’s season ended, Cora spent September with the Pirates, where he had meetings with Pirates manager Clint Hurdle to see how the team operates.
Prince has 33 seasons under his belt in professional baseball — and 23 of those seasons have come with the Pirates in his role as the team’s minor league field coordinator. He has also served as a minor league manager with the team for 11 seasons, most recently with the Curve in 2015.
In 1987, Prince made his Major League debut with the Pirates. He retired as a player in 2003.
These hirings replace Nick Leyva, who remains with the team as a senior advisor in the team’s baseball operations department, Rick Sofield, who was relieved of his duties, and Dave Jauss, who reverts back to his position on the staff as the quality control coach.
Sofield was responsible for the team’s base running, which was suspect in recent years — both in regard to base stealing and getting picked off first base. He was also responsible for the team’s outfield positioning, which was much more shallow than two seasons ago, when opponents were able to stretch singles into doubles because of how deep the outfield played.
Jauss had been the team’s bench coach for two seasons.
Brad Fischer won’t return to the Pirates’ staff next season, but he was offered a role within the organization on Pittsburgh’s player development team — which he has yet to accept.
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