Baseball: Rick Eckstein to lead Pirates as new hitting coach
"Rick Eckstein brings experience, knowledge and a relentless drive to combine old-school thought and new-school concepts to help our major league team," general manager Neal Huntington said.
Rick Eckstein has been named the new hitting coach of the Pittsburgh Pirates, the club announced Friday.
His addition fills the only vacancy on the coaching staff that is led by manager Clint Hurdle.
"Rick Eckstein brings experience, knowledge and a relentless drive to combine old-school thought and new-school concepts to help our major league team," general manager Neal Huntington said in a press release. "His ability to impact each player's approach and skill set will aid in our ability to create runs and maximize our performance as a team.
"The various roles Rick has held have prepared him to implement an individualized mental, physical and fundamental program to benefit our major league team and our organization."
After the season, the Pirates fired hitting coach Jeff Branson and assistant hitting coach Jeff Livesey.
Eckstein, 45, was the minor league hitting coordinator for the Minnesota Twins the past two seasons, a former assistant coach for the University of Kentucky baseball team, and the Washington Nationals' hitting coach from 2009-13. After he was let go by the Nationals midway through the 2013 season while the offence struggled in runs scored (28th in the league) and batting average (27th), he served as a player information coach, assistant hitting coach and advance scout for the Los Angeles Angels in 2014.
Eckstein also coached Double-A hitters and mentored in extended spring training in the Nationals/Montreal Expos organization in 2004-05. In 2006, he coached Washington's Triple-A hitters, filled the same role for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2007 and returned to Washington in 2008.
Eckstein is the older brother of former major league shortstop David Eckstein.
(With inputs from agencies.)