KANSAS CITY -- Why have just one hitting coach when you can have two?
The Royals broke new ground for their Major League club on Wednesday by naming Jack Maloof the new hitting coach and Andre David as the assistant hitting coach. Both were promoted from Minor League jobs.
They succeed Kevin Seitzer, who was dismissed after four seasons as hitting coach on Oct. 4.
While having two hitting coaches is new for the Kansas City club, it's been a growing trend for Major League clubs to have two on staff. The assistant generally works with players before the game, but observes the game from the stands because of a limit on coaches in the dugout.
The move completes manager Ned Yost's 2013 coaching staff. The others are bench coach Chino Cadahia, pitching coach Dave Eiland, first-base coach Rusty Kuntz, third-base coach Eddie Rodriguez and bullpen coach Doug Henry.
Maloof, 63, joined the Royals in 2008 as special assistant to player development and hitting coordinator. He was in the Atlanta organization from 2002-07. This will be his second stint in the Majors. He was the Florida Marlins' hitting coach from 1999 to 2001, and sees a parallel between that job and his new assignment because both teams had talented young hitters emerging from the Minors.
With the Marlins, he was brought in by manager John Boles, now a special advisor to Royals general manager Dayton Moore.
"It was a little bumpy in the beginning, but it was understandable in their first go-round; they really turned it around and improvement was there for each of those years," Maloof said. "The talent is certainly here. The talent in Florida was a little untapped but they did well, and I look for the same to happen here."
David, 54, served as the Royals' Major League hitting coach from May 30, 2005, to May 1, 2006. For the past three seasons, he's been the hitting coach for Surprise in the Rookie Arizona League and has been in the organization for 14 years, so he knows most of the current hitters.
"A lot of them have come through the system and we have worked with them in one way or another -- from a mental approach or a mechanical approach. So we're going to continue the process and go from there," David said.
When Seitzer was dismissed, Yost indicated he wanted to see more home runs and power hitting. The Royals were 12th among the 14 American League teams in runs scored (676) and tied for last in homers (131).
"We're all in that corner," Maloof said. "You can talk about expectations and what you'd like to see, but I'm more into tapping more of the potential. Everybody's got high expectations, but our players have got to realize that what we're after is their true potential -- if we can get to that point, expectations will take care of themselves."
David also believes the power potential can improve.
"We saw in the Minor Leagues how they responded through their swing action, and we just feel we can get them to unleash that a little bit and go from there," David said. "It's a process, it's a mindset too, and we're going to continue to work with these guys, because Jack and I know them as well as anybody."
One project will be to get first baseman Eric Hosmer, who struggled throughout the 2012 season, back to his rookie year production.
"I think that he got himself into areas where he was kind of searching and not really getting back to what he's all about," Maloof said. "It's fortunate that I've had him and pretty much know where he needs to be, and if he can get back to the point, I think we're going to see a different Eric Hosmer next year."
Maloof also wants to see a more consistent approach from third baseman Mike Moustakas, who fell off in the second half.
"With this past year, Moose, Hosmer and a lot of the younger guys certainly know more what the league is about, what the pitching is all about, umpiring is all about and it should put them in a better position to have success going into their second full year," Maloof said.
The Royals already have what amounts to a two-coach setup for their pitchers with new bullpen coach Henry acting as an assistant to Eiland. Now they're joining with several clubs in adding a second hitting coach, including the Cardinals who have Mark McGwire assisted by John Mabry.
"Tony La Russa was one that implemented that here and I think it's invaluable," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "There's so much work to be done, these hitters really start showing up five, six hours before the game starting to do their work. And it's usually too much for one coach to handle on his own. Plus you have the availability of a second set of eyes."
Other clubs with two hitting coaches include the Giants (Hensley Meulens and Joe Lefebvre), Tigers (Lloyd McClendon and Toby Harrah), Braves (Greg Walker and Scott Fletcher), Phillies (Steve Henderson and Wally Joyner) and Padres (Phil Plantier and Alonzo Powell).
"I think you'll see more and more of that," Maloof said. "From a pitching standpoint, it's been that way for a number of years and I think baseball in general is starting to move toward that format in hitting."
There is no lefty-righty division for Maloof and David. Both were left-handed batters in their long-term Minor League careers (David reached the Majors briefly with the Twins in 1984 and 1986). In addition, David will provide the Royals with a needed left-handed batting practice pitcher.
"That'll be an asset," Maloof said. "Andre is solid, we've worked together since I've been in the organization. The players all know him, he's a great guy and we'll work together just fine."