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Cards have one vacancy to fill on coaching staff

MLB.com @LangoschMLB

ST. LOUIS -- The October departure of bench coach Mike Aldrete led to some internal shuffling within the Cardinals' coaching staff, which leaves the organization still needing to fill one vacancy.

Last week, the Cardinals announced that David Bell had been promoted to bench coach, filling a position that Aldrete held for three seasons before accepting that same role on Bob Melvin's staff in Oakland. Bell had served as the Cardinals' assistant hitting coach but has had the ambition of moving up into a managerial or bench coach role at some point.

ST. LOUIS -- The October departure of bench coach Mike Aldrete led to some internal shuffling within the Cardinals' coaching staff, which leaves the organization still needing to fill one vacancy.

Last week, the Cardinals announced that David Bell had been promoted to bench coach, filling a position that Aldrete held for three seasons before accepting that same role on Bob Melvin's staff in Oakland. Bell had served as the Cardinals' assistant hitting coach but has had the ambition of moving up into a managerial or bench coach role at some point.

Bell managed four seasons in the Minors before landing his first Major League coaching gig. He joined the Cardinals as an assistant hitting coach before the 2014 season. That's the same position Aldrete held before being promoted to bench coach when Mike Matheny took over as manager.

"Obviously, anytime you bring somebody in in that assistant role, you're hopeful that could lead to something bigger and better," general manager John Mozeliak said. "He was just someone who showed great interest in this position. You look at his skill set and what he brings, and it looks like he'll be a great balance for Mike."

The Cardinals have not yet filled their final coaching vacancy, one that could be used in a variety of ways. Some clubs employ an extra hitting coach (as the Cardinals have in recent years); others use it for an extra pitching instructor or general coach.

While acknowledging that the Cardinals could go in a different direction with their hire this time, Mozeliak said: "I think our initial plan is to address the hitting side."

The club has felt there are benefits of carrying that second hitting instructor, someone who can slip into the batting cage to prepare batters to come off the bench while the primary hitting coach remains in the dugout in-game. Working in tandem also helps the staff handle all of the necessary pregame batting practice work.

As for the leading candidates to join Matheny's staff, Mozeliak said the search remains wide.

"We certainly have a couple candidates internally that we could consider," he said, "but I do think we will explore what else will be out there."

The Cardinals have had to hire for this assistant coach position each of the last four offseasons.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

St. Louis Cardinals