SEATTLE -- Mariners manager Scott Servais finalized the hiring of his 2019 coaching staff on Monday as the club announced that Tim Laker will be replacing Edgar Martinez as hitting coach.Laker, 48, was the assistant hitting coach for the D-backs the past two seasons after 10 years as a Minor
SEATTLE -- Mariners manager Scott Servais finalized the hiring of his 2019 coaching staff on Monday as the club announced that Tim Laker will be replacing Edgar Martinez as hitting coach.
Laker, 48, was the assistant hitting coach for the D-backs the past two seasons after 10 years as a Minor League coach and manager, including a season as the Mariners' Double-A manager at West Tennessee in 2010. He also worked in the White Sox and Indians organizations following an 11-year Major League career as a catcher.
"Tim brings a great combination of both swing mechanics and offensive approach that I believe our hitters will connect with," Servais said.
Martinez stepped down after 3 1/2 seasons as the hitting coach last month to accept a new position as an organizational hitting instructor after letting the Mariners know he wanted a reduced role with less travel.
"Big shoes right there, huh?" Laker said. "Not the easiest guy to follow up. But I'm excited about it and the direction they're going on the development side and carry over to the big leagues. They're ahead of the curve a little. It's going to be an exciting time."
Laker said Servais as well as Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto and director of player development Andy McKay are pushing advanced training methods for hitters to record and analyze swings and movement in a way he hasn't seen many other organizations fully embrace.
"I went down about a week ago to their Minor League swing camp [in Peoria, Ariz.] and they were using Rapsodo and Blast Motion, getting more data to lend into coaching," he said. "I don't see a lot of teams going that way. All the Minor League coaches were teaching the same thing. That's not always the case. These guys were all on the same page.
"I hate the term "launch angle," but they're talking more about driving the ball, and that really interested me. I'm all about driving the ball. You have to have a solid foundation first. Good swing mechanics, solid base. Obviously the way the game is going today, you have to have an understanding of the analytics and using pitch data and numbers to attack pitchers."
Laker said he's ready to "hit the ground running" and has already worked with first baseman Ryon Healy and outfielder Mitch Haniger. Healy is a former roommate of Laker's stepson at Oregon, while Haniger worked with Laker last offseason at the recommendation of some mutual acquaintances from the D-backs.
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Laker is the fourth newcomer to Servais' seven-man Major League coaching staff. Former Cardinals Minor League pitching coordinator Paul Davis has replaced Mel Stottlemyre Jr. as the pitching coach, Veteran Marlins coach Perry Hill is the new first-base coach and will oversee the infielders after Scott Brosius chose not to return and former Rays Triple-A manager Jared Sandberg has taken a newly created Major League field coordinator role with the Mariners.
Manny Acta is returning as bench coach, former first-base coach Chris Prieto has moved over to coach third and assistant coach Jim Brower is the Mariners' new bullpen coach.
Brian De Lunas, who filled the bullpen-coach role last season, has taken on a new organization-wide role as director of pitching development and strategies.
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.