Bard bench coach as Yanks' staff takes shape

Nevin (third base), Willits (first base) also named as instructors; Rothschild returns to pitching helm

December 11th, 2017

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Most of the Yankees' coaching staff has been filled out, as new manager Aaron Boone will welcome bench coach Josh Bard, third-base coach Phil Nevin and first-base coach Reggie Willits to the dugout in 2018, along with returning pitching coach Larry Rothschild.

The Yankees' hitting coach and bullpen coach remain unsettled, and Boone said that those positions could be announced shortly. Alan Cockrell and Marcus Thames served as the team's hitting coaches last season under former manager Joe Girardi, while Mike Harkey served as the bullpen coach.

Bard, 39, was a teammate of Boone's with the Indians in 2005. He spent the last two seasons as the Dodgers' bullpen coach, following three years as a scout and special assistant in the team's front office. Bard played parts of 10 seasons as a Major League catcher with the Indians, Red Sox, Padres, Nationals and Mariners.

Bard could also assume instruction of the Yankees' catchers, a role that could be magnified given 's struggles behind the plate in 2017.

Nevin, 46, spent last season as the Giants' third-base coach after managing at Triple-A Reno from 2014-16. A 2001 National League All-Star infielder, Nevin played 12 seasons in the Majors with the Astros, Tigers, Angels, Padres, Rangers, Cubs and Twins. He and Boone's older brother, Bret, attended the same high school.

"It was easy for me. Those were two guys that I had kind of in my mind as guys that I would want in those roles," Boone said of Bard and Nevin. "They went through a pretty extensive interview process, and I'm excited about those two guys -- very different personalities, but two guys that I think are going to have a big-time impact on our team."

Willits, 36, has been a highly regarded outfield and baserunning instructor in the Yankees' system following a playing career that included six big league seasons with the Angels from 2006-11.

The New York Post has reported that Carlos Mendoza will be named as the Yankees' infield coach, and that Thames and Harkey are expected to return. Boone said on Monday that there will be a Spanish-speaking presence on the staff, which Mendoza would fulfill. 

"I don't think there will be a lot of surprises," Boone said. "I've seen some of the names out there. We're excited to bring back a couple guys, and hopefully add a couple more guys that are going to really have an impact on a young roster."