Yankees announce coaches for the 2015 Season; Name Jeff Pentland, Joe Espada and Alan Cockrell to staff
The New York Yankees today announced Joe Girardi's coaches for the 2015 season, with Jeff Pentland (hitting), Joe Espada (third base) and Alan Cockrell (assistant hitting) joining the staff. Larry Rothschild (pitching) and Gary Tuck (bullpen) will each return to the roles they served in 2014, while Rob Thomson will now be the club's bench coach and Tony Pena will serve as first base coach.
Pentland, 68, begins his 17th season as a Major League hitting coach, having previously served in that role for the Marlins (1996), Cubs (1997-2002), Royals (2003-05), Mariners (2006-08) and Dodgers (2008-11). In 2012, he was the hitting coach for Seattle's Triple-A club in Tacoma and during the 2014 season, Pentland held the position of hitting coordinator in Miami's player development system. He was a scout for the Marlins from 1992-93 before becoming a minor league hitting coach from 1993-96. In 1997, he was a minor league hitting coordinator for the Mets before joining the Cubs.
Prior to coaching at the professional level, Pentland was an assistant coach at Mesa Community College (Ariz.) in 1972, Arizona State University from 1983-91 and the University of California, Riverside in 1974. He was also the assistant athletic director for Wichita State University in 1973.
Born in Hollywood, Calif., Pentland earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from Arizona State University where he was a member of the school's 1967 NCAA championship team and was later inducted into the University's Hall of Fame in October 2002. He also spent three seasons in the Padres' minor league system (1969-71) as a left-handed batter, playing first base, outfield, catcher and pitcher.
Espada, 39, will begin his fifth season as a Major League third base coach, having held the same position for Miami from 2010-13. Prior to joining the Major League club with the Marlins, he was the hitting coach for Single-A Greensboro in 2006 and Single-A Jupiter in 2007. From 2008-09, he was Miami's minor league infield coordinator. His current position is his second in the Yankees organization, having been a professional scout for the club in 2014. This offseason, he is managing the Gigantes de Carolina of the Puerto Rican Professional Baseball League.
The Santurce, Puerto Rico, native was selected by Oakland in the second round of the 1996 First-Year Player Draft. He played in nine minor league seasons (1996-2004) in the Athletics, Marlins, Rockies, Royals, Cardinals, Rangers and Rays organizations, as well as one season with independent-league Pensacola (2005), combining to bat .286 (811-for-2,838) with 24HR and 287RBI in 779 games.
Espada attended the University of Mobile, where he still ranks among the offensive leaders in several categories, owning the school's top two single-season batting averages (.468 in 1995 and .446 in 1996) and top career batting average (.442). From 2004-05, he was the school's assistant hitting coach.
Cockrell, 52, will begin his fourth stint as a member of a Major League coaching staff, having served as hitting coach for Colorado (2002 and '07-08) and Seattle (2009-10). In 2007, the National League-champion Rockies led the NL in batting average (.280), hits (1,591) and on-base percentage (.354). He was also a minor league roving hitting coordinator for Colorado in 2001 and hitting coach for their Triple-A affiliate from 2003-06. He served as manager for rookie-level Portland in 1999 and Single-A Salem in 2000. He most recently served as a roving hitting coordinator in the Diamondbacks organization, holding the position from 2011-13.
Cockrell was born in Kansas City, Kans., and attended the University of Tennessee, where he was an All-American baseball player. He was also the Vols' starting quarterback for two seasons (1982-83) and helped lead the team to a Citrus Bowl victory in 1983.
The former outfielder was selected by San Francisco as the ninth overall selection in the 1984 First-Year Player Draft. He played in 1,414 career minor league games from 1984-96, batting .278 (1,322-for-4,760). Cockrell made his Major League debut with the Rockies in 1996, playing in nine games and batting .250 (2-for-8) in his final professional playing season.
Pena, 57, will enter his 10th season on the Yankees' Major League staff and fourth as first base coach, having also held the position from 2006-08. He served as the club's bench coach from 2009-14 and was the Yankees' catching instructor from 2006-13. Prior to the 2013 regular season, he managed the 2013 World Baseball Classic-champion Dominican Republic team and became the first WBC manager to lead his team to an undefeated record (8-0).
Rothschild, 60, will begin his fifth season as Yankees pitching coach and his 41st in professional baseball as a player, coach or manager. Since joining the Yankees in 2011, the club's pitchers own a 2.90 strikeout-to-walk ratio (5,143K/1,773BB), the best such mark in the Majors over the four-year span. In 2014, Yankees pitchers posted a 3.44K/BB ratio (1,370K/398BB), the second-highest such mark in the Majors since 1900, trailing only the 2014 Nationals (3.66). The 1,370K by Yankees pitchers set a single-season franchise record, surpassing their 2012 mark (1,318). Prior to joining the Yankees, Rothschild spent nine seasons (2002-10) as the Cubs' pitching coach.
Thomson, 51, will enter his 26th season as a member of the Yankees organization and eighth on the club's Major League coaching staff. The 2015 season will mark his second as the Yankees' bench coach, having also held the position in 2008. From 2009-14, he served as the club's third base coach. The Ontario, Canada, native also oversees the Yankees' outfielders.
Tuck, 60, will begin his second season as Yankees bullpen coach and 33rd year in professional baseball as a player, coach or scout. Prior to joining the Yankees, he served as Boston's bullpen coach for six seasons (2007-12) and as Joe Girardi's bench coach for the Florida Marlins in 2006. Tuck's current assignment with the Yankees marks his fourth stint with the club, having served in various other roles for the organization from 1989-90, 1996-99 and 2003-04. Overall, he has coached or scouted for seven teams that have reached the World Series, with five of those clubs-including the 1996, '98 and '99 Yankees-going on to become world champions.