The Pittsburgh Pirates today announced that Don Kelly will be joining Manager Derek Shelton’s staff as the Bench Coach for the 2020 season. The announcement was made by General Manager, Ben Cherington.
The 39-year-old Kelly served as First Base Coach for the American League champion Houston Astros in 2019, his first stint as a Major League coach after working for the Tigers as a professional scout for two years (2017-18).
“I am extremely humbled and excited to return to the Pirates as the Bench Coach,” said Kelly. “I share the vision and passion that Ben and Derek have for the future of the organization. My family and I could not be more proud to return home to be a part of this next chapter of Pirates baseball.”
Kelly, a native of Butler, PA, who played collegiate ball at Point Park College in Pittsburgh, spent 16 seasons playing professional baseball, including parts of nine in the Major Leagues with the Pirates (2007), Tigers (20092014) and Marlins (2015-16).
“I am really excited to have Don Kelly join the Pirates staff as Bench Coach,” said Shelton. “After his solid major league career as a versatile player, he continued to learn and gain knowledge working in the front office with the Tigers and again last year as the First Base Coach with the Astros. I am thrilled that he gets to return home to Pittsburgh and that we have the opportunity to have him join our big league staff.” Originally an eighth-round selection of the Tigers in the 2001 First-Year Player Draft, Kelly made his big league debut with the Pirates in 2007. He appeared in 584 Major League games over the course of nine seasons while playing at least one game at all nine positions, mostly in left field (164 games) and at third base (130 games). Kelly was twice named the Heart and Hustle Award winner for Detroit (2013, 2014).
In addition to the appointment of Kelly, Joey Cora will return for his fourth season as Third Base Coach and Rick Eckstein will serve as Hitting Coach for the second straight year. Justin Meccage, who served as Assistant Pitching Coach in 2018-19, will return in 2020 in a role to be determined.
General Manager Ben Cherington will be available for comment Monday from the Winter Meetings in San Diego.