SEATTLE -- The Mariners stayed within their own organization to promote three coaches to manager Scott Servais’ Major League staff Thursday, making Pete Woodworth their new pitching coach, Carson Vitale their Major League field coordinator and Jarret DeHart the new assistant hitting coach.
Woodworth worked with many of the Mariners’ top young prospects last season as the pitching coach for Double-A Arkansas and was the pitching coach at Class A Advanced Modesto the prior two years. He replaces Paul Davis, who is being reassigned as chief pitching strategist for the organization after spending one year as Seattle’s pitching coach.
Woodworth was named the Texas League Coach of the Year before joining the Mariners for the final three weeks of the season after Arkansas finished its playoff run.
“It’s unbelievable,” the 31-year-old Woodworth said of his big league promotion. “I’ve had the opportunity to work with a handful of these guys, and to see them make the jump from Double-A or [Triple-A] Tacoma and make their debut -- or to get back up there -- was really cool. Especially that last month seeing [Justin Dunn] and [Kyle Lewis] come up. It’s awesome to join them and progress with them and help them along their way.”
Woodworth said one of his keys will be finding the balance between the immense amount of analytical data and the different personalities of the pitchers he’ll be working with at the Major League level.
“Every individual and player brings their own personality and has their own learning capabilities,” he said. “We’re seeing more and more guys who can speak the language of Rapsodo or Trackman, getting introduced to that at a younger age.
“You have guys like [2018 first-round Draft pick] Logan Gilbert who are very advanced in using the technology, but everybody is different and you have to be able to speak a ton of languages and translate words to numbers and numbers to words. There are a million ways to do it and that’s the fun part, connecting with the many individuals and personalities we have.”
Vitale spent the last two seasons as the Mariners’ Minor League field coordinator. He’ll now replace Jared Sandberg in that position with the big league staff, with Sandberg having been promoted to Servais’ bench coach.
Vitale said his role as field coordinator is to help with communication and advocacy between players and coaches while overseeing all aspects of the team.
“The job looks very different from day to day and hour to hour,” said the 31-year-old Canadian native. “I need to wear many hats and be good in many hats so players and the coaching staff can thrive. I want to provide value to every person in that clubhouse, however they need it.”
DeHart was a roving Minor League hitting strategist for the Mariners last season, while often spending time with Seattle's big league hitters as well. He previously served as the hitting coach for the Arizona Rookie League Mariners in 2018 after playing college ball at Louisiana State and Tulane.
Former bench coach Manny Acta will take over as the third-base coach, replacing Chris Prieto, whose contract was not renewed last month. Acta was the third-base coach for Servais in 2016-17 before switching to bench coach the past two years.
The other staff change involves another return as Brian De Lunas resumes the role of bullpen coach, a position he held in 2018 before shifting to director of pitching development and strategies last season while working with pitchers throughout the organization.
De Lunas replaces Jim Brower, who was dismissed along with Prieto after the regular season ended.
Hitting coach Tim Laker and first-base coach Perry Hill will return in their same roles, with Hill also overseeing the infielders.
Nasusel Cabrera will also remain with the big league staff in his position as batting practice pitcher. Fleming Báez will return as the bullpen catcher.
“We have a hard-working coaching staff with a diverse set of skills and experiences,” Servais said. “I am really excited about the ability of this group to connect with all of our players, and about the passion they have for teaching and helping our guys improve on a daily basis.”
Here’s the complete staff:
Manager: Scott Servais
Bench coach: Jared Sandberg
Hitting coach: Tim Laker
Pitching coach: Pete Woodworth
First-base coach: Perry Hill
Third-base coach: Manny Acta
Bullpen coach: Brian De Lunas
Major League field coordinator: Carson Vitale
Assistant hitting coach: Jarret DeHart