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Rangers turn attention to coaching staff

MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

Now that the Rangers have manager Chris Woodward in place, the team is turning its focus to the coaching staff. Pitching coach will be foremost on the list, although the Rangers have not yet made a formal decision on Doug Brocail and Dan Warthen.

Brocail has been the Rangers pitching coach for the past three seasons and Warthen joined him as an assistant in 2018 after 10 years as the Mets pitching coach. The Rangers have not spoken to Brocail about his situation since the end of the season.

Now that the Rangers have manager Chris Woodward in place, the team is turning its focus to the coaching staff. Pitching coach will be foremost on the list, although the Rangers have not yet made a formal decision on Doug Brocail and Dan Warthen.

Brocail has been the Rangers pitching coach for the past three seasons and Warthen joined him as an assistant in 2018 after 10 years as the Mets pitching coach. The Rangers have not spoken to Brocail about his situation since the end of the season.

Woodward spent the past three seasons as the Dodgers third-base coach and may look to his former organization for help. Bullpen coach Mark Prior could be of interest to the Rangers. He joined the Dodgers last season after three years as a Minor League instructor for the Padres.

The Dodgers might not want to part with him, but for Prior, being a pitching coach could be considered a step up from bullpen coach. Prior might be seen as the eventual successor to Rick Honeycutt, who has been the Dodgers pitching coach since 2006.

Brandon Gomes, another former pitcher, is the Dodgers director of player development. Clubs often frown upon a raiding party once former employers are hired by another organization, whether it is as manager or general manager.

"Nothing formal, be respectful," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "You never want to take advantage of a situation. We all operate on both sides of the equation. Sometimes you are on the hiring side, sometimes you are on the other side. It's better to be respectful and let people make their own choices if there is an opportunity that is better for them."

The Rangers are also looking for two hitting coaches after Anthony Iapoce and Justin Mashore left the organization at the end of the season. The Dodgers had two assistant hitting coaches this season in Brant Brown and Luis Ortiz. Both began their coaching careers in the Rangers organization.

Howard Johnson was the Rangers Triple-A hitting coach this season. He was formerly the Mariners hitting coach in 2014-15 when Woodward was on their staff. The Rangers roving hitting instructors this past season were Josue Perez and Dwayne Murphy. Another interesting name is Chili Davis, who was let go by the Cubs after the season and replaced by Iapoce.

Woodward indicated at his opening news conference that the Rangers will keep at least a couple members of the current coaching staff. Jayce Tingler is expected to be on staff after spending last season as the farm director. Third-base coach Tony Beasley, first-base coach Steve Buechele and bullpen coach Hector Ortiz are highly regarded in the organization.

The Rangers are bringing Don Wakamatsu back as bench coach. Wakamatsu, who managed the Mariners in 2009-10, was the Rangers bench coach this past season and served in that role for the Royals when they went to the World Series in 2014-15. Wakamatsu was the interim manager at the end of the 2018 season and was also a candidate for the Rangers manager's job before being passed over for Woodward, but he is willing to put that aside to serve as Woodward's bench coach.

"We have a lot of work on the big league team, we need to add talent," Daniels said. "It's important to get our staff set first."

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.Maria Guardado contributed to this report from Carlsbad, Calif.

Texas Rangers