D-backs make coaching changes

Lovullo likely to employ an expanded staff next season

October 9th, 2021

PHOENIX -- The D-backs' coaching staff will have a decidedly different look in 2022 after the club made the decision not to bring back a number of coaches following a 52-110 finish this past season.

The club announced that quality-control coach Robby Hammock and pitching coach Matt Herges would not have their contracts renewed for next season.

Co-hitting coaches Drew Hedman and Rick Short will not return in those roles but could be candidates for others as the team is looking at restructuring its hitting-coach position. Herges, too, was offered an undetermined role inside the organization.

Additionally, Chris Cron, who was added to the staff when first-base coach Dave McKay suffered a serious spleen injury in Spring Training, was offered a spot in player development.

Bench coach Luis Urueta will be a part of the Major League staff in some undetermined role but will no longer be bench coach.

Third-base coach Tony Perezchica, McKay and bullpen coach Mike Fetters will be the only coaches to return in their current roles.

D-backs manager Torey Lovullo agreed to a contract extension last month through next season, with a club option for 2023. All of his coaches had their contracts expire this season.

Several of the current roles will undergo significant changes, as well, and it looks like the D-backs will follow the lead of the Giants -- who greatly expanded their coaching staff under manager Gabe Kapler.

"I think what we need to do is look long and hard at what's working inside of our industry," Lovullo said. "You know, it's a copycat league -- and we pay attention to what's going on around us."

Lovullo said the new hitting coach will have multiple assistants. Those assistants will also spend some time rotating between the top levels of the organization to make sure a consistent hitting philosophy is taught throughout.

The new pitching coach will have an assistant -- and possibly more than one -- but that is still being discussed, according to Lovullo.

Without wanting to get into specifics of why certain coaches were let go, Lovullo did express the desire for a fresh start.

"I want to talk about more of what I am looking for," Lovullo said. "I'm looking for some leadership. So, a new voice maybe -- with some new teaching mechanics and maybe a new presence."

While saying Urueta would someday be a big league manager, Lovullo said he was seeking a new bench coach because he and Urueta have similar skill sets.

"I am looking for somebody to fill my gaps," Lovullo said. "To not be anything like me. To be a totally different version of who I am every single day, but have a great nose for understanding what's happening every single day. And wherever I am missing something, I need this person to step in and be acutely aware of, of what my needs will be every single day. [Urueta] is going to be a big league manager one day and he's on my watch, and I'm going to continue to develop [him]. But I think yes, he was very similar to me, and I'm looking for somebody to fill in the gaps for me."