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D-backs name Darnell Coles as hitting coach

Tim Laker returns as assistant hitting coach

PHOENIX - The Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) named Darnell Coles as hitting coach. Additionally, Tim Laker will return to the club as the assistant hitting coach.

Coles, 56, joins the D-backs after spending the previous 4 seasons (2015-18) as hitting coach with the Milwaukee Brewers. Last season, the Brewers featured 2 players in the top 5 in the National League in each Triple Crown category (average/home runs/RBI) [Christian Yelich .326 AVG/36 HR/110 RBI, Jesús Aguilar 35 HR/108 RBI, Lorenzo Cain .308 AVG], making them 1 of 2 teams in the last 35 years to accomplish that feat, joining the 1992 San Diego Padres [source: Elias Sports Bureau]. They were also the only team in the Majors to boast 3 30-homer players in each of the last 2 seasons (2017: Travis Shaw/Eric Thames/Domingo Santana; 2018: Yelich/Aguilar/Shaw), and the first to do so in back-to-back seasons since the 2008-09 Philadelphia Phillies. Overall, Milwaukee posted 2 of its top 3 single-season home run totals in franchise history in the last 2 seasons under Coles' guidance (2nd in 2017, 224; 3rd in 2018, 218).

PHOENIX - The Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) named Darnell Coles as hitting coach. Additionally, Tim Laker will return to the club as the assistant hitting coach.

Coles, 56, joins the D-backs after spending the previous 4 seasons (2015-18) as hitting coach with the Milwaukee Brewers. Last season, the Brewers featured 2 players in the top 5 in the National League in each Triple Crown category (average/home runs/RBI) [Christian Yelich .326 AVG/36 HR/110 RBI, Jesús Aguilar 35 HR/108 RBI, Lorenzo Cain .308 AVG], making them 1 of 2 teams in the last 35 years to accomplish that feat, joining the 1992 San Diego Padres [source: Elias Sports Bureau]. They were also the only team in the Majors to boast 3 30-homer players in each of the last 2 seasons (2017: Travis Shaw/Eric Thames/Domingo Santana; 2018: Yelich/Aguilar/Shaw), and the first to do so in back-to-back seasons since the 2008-09 Philadelphia Phillies. Overall, Milwaukee posted 2 of its top 3 single-season home run totals in franchise history in the last 2 seasons under Coles' guidance (2nd in 2017, 224; 3rd in 2018, 218).

"We're excited to add a person of Darnell Coles' caliber to our Major League coaching staff," said Lovullo. "He is an exceptional communicator that values building relationships. As a teacher, his dynamic approach has proven to help players develop."

Last season for the NL Central Division Champions, Coles helped guide Yelich to the first batting title in franchise history (.326), as well as leading the league in slugging percentage (.598), OPS (1.000) and total bases (343). Yelich, who was a first-time All-Star in 2018, also ranked in the top 5 in runs (2nd, 118), hits (2nd, 187), RBI (T-2nd, 110), on-base percentage (3rd, .402), home runs (T-3rd, 36) and extra-base hits (5th, 77). Aguilar also made his first NL All-Star Team and ranked among the league leaders in RBI (T-4th, 108), slugging percentage (5th, .539), home runs (T-5th, 35) and OPS (9th, .890). Cain was selected to his second career All-Star Game (also: 2015) and ranked among the NL leaders in on-base percentage (4th, .395) and average (5th, .308), career highs in both categories.

Prior to working with the Brewers, Coles got his first Major League coaching experience as the assistant hitting coach with the Detroit Tigers in 2014. At the Minor League level, he served as the Brewers' hitting coordinator (2010-11) and manager for Double-A Huntsville (2012-13). Coles also spent 4 years in the Washington Nationals' organization (2006-09), serving as Minor League roving hitting instructor (2006), manager for Short-Season A Vermont (2007) and Single-A Hagerstown (2008) and hitting coach for Triple-A Syracuse (2009). He began his coaching career as the Minor League hitting coordinator for the Seattle Mariners in 2000 before working for ESPN as a baseball analyst from 2001-06.

Coles played in 957 games over 14 Major League seasons with the Mariners (1983-85, '88-90), Detroit Tigers (1986-87, '90), Pittsburgh Pirates (1987-88), San Francisco Giants (1991), Cincinnati Reds (1992), Toronto Blue Jays (1993-94), St. Louis Cardinals (1995) and Colorado Rockies (1997).

Laker, 48, will enter his third season as the D-backs' assistant hitting coach and his 13th overall as a coach/manager. He spent 2016 as the hitting coach the in the Cleveland Indians' organization with Double-A Akron and 5 seasons in the Chicago White Sox' system (2011-15) as a Minor League hitting instructor (2015), hitting coordinator (2012-14) and Triple-A Charlotte hitting coach (2011). He was the manager of Double-A West Tennessee (Mariners) in 2010 after beginning his career in Cleveland's system (2007-09) as the catching coordinator (2008-09) and manager of Short-Season A Mahoning Valley (2007). Laker played parts of 11 seasons in the Majors with the Montreal Expos (1992-95), Baltimore Orioles (1997), Tampa Bay Devil Rays (1998, 2005), Pirates (1998-99) and Indians (2001-06).

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