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Prior highlights Dodgers' coaching adds

Former All-Star named bullpen coach as LA fills out staff
MLB.com @DKramer_

The Dodgers will look to defend their National League pennant under the guidance of a coaching staff that remains largely intact among the chief positions. The club announced Thursday that it has made four additions to manager Dave Roberts' staff, headlined by Mark Prior coming on as bullpen coach.

Fellow first-year coaches include game-planning/communications coach Danny Lehmann, who spent the past three seasons as a Dodgers advance video scout, and assistant hitting coaches Brant Brown and Luis Ortiz, whose roles were announced last month.

The Dodgers will look to defend their National League pennant under the guidance of a coaching staff that remains largely intact among the chief positions. The club announced Thursday that it has made four additions to manager Dave Roberts' staff, headlined by Mark Prior coming on as bullpen coach.

Fellow first-year coaches include game-planning/communications coach Danny Lehmann, who spent the past three seasons as a Dodgers advance video scout, and assistant hitting coaches Brant Brown and Luis Ortiz, whose roles were announced last month.

The rest of the staff includes bench coach Bob Geren, hitting coach Turner Ward, first-base coach George Lombard and third-base coach Chris Woodward -- all four coaches were brought on when Roberts was hired three years ago -- as well as 13th-year pitching coach Rick Honeycutt.

Video: Prior on new bullpen coach job with Dodgers, Roberts

Prior, the former All-Star pitcher for the Cubs, has spent the last four years in San Diego's front office, first as a baseball-operations assistant then as the Padres' Minor League pitching coordinator since 2015. Prior, who battled significant elbow and shoulder injuries during his playing career, last pitched in the Majors in 2006 but remained in pro baseball attempting to resurrect his career until the end of the 2013 season, when he retired and joined his hometown Padres' front office. He was also the pitching coach for Team USA in the '16 SiriusXM Futures Game at Petco Park.

Prior, 37, was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2001 Draft out of the University of Southern California, and he quickly blossomed into one of the game's top young starting pitchers. He broke into the Majors in '02, and helped lead the Cubs to the NL Championship Series in '03, a season in which he went 18-6 with a 2.43 ERA and finished third in the NL Cy Young Award voting. However, a litany of injuries hindered him in years that followed, limiting him to 21 starts in '04, 27 in '05 and just nine in '06. He finished his career 42-29 with a 3.51 ERA and 10.4 strikeouts per nine innings.

Video: 2003 NLDS Gm3: Prior finishes complete game, Cubs win

Prior is replacing Josh Bard, who recently joined new Yankees manager Aaron Boone's staff after two years in his post with the Dodgers. Under Bard, the Dodgers' bullpen paced the NL with a 3.36 reliever ERA and 1,270 strikeouts.

Honeycutt, 63, has been with the Dodgers since 2006, and during his tenure, the club's pitching staff ranks first in cumulative ERA (3.63), strikeouts per nine innings (8.1) and opposing batting average (.244). Honeycutt has worked under four managers -- Grady Little, Joe Torre, Don Mattingly and Roberts -- and is currently the third-longest tenured pitching coach, behind the White Sox Don Cooper and the Padres' Darren Balsley.

Lehmann, 32, is expected to take on a game-planning role geared toward positioning knowledge, including in-game work in the dugout. A former eighth-round pick by the Twins in the 2007 Draft, Lehmann played in the Minnesota organization until 2013 and later worked toward a double major in sports management and managerial studies at Rice University before joining the Dodgers ahead of the '15 season.

Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.

 

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