ORLANDO, Fla. -- Twenty-four years after his most recent at-bat in pinstripes, Hensley Meulens was the third man up for the Yankees on Thursday morning, as the former infielder and outfielder became the latest to interview for the club's managerial vacancy.Meulens, 50, spent eight years as the Giants' hitting coach
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Twenty-four years after his most recent at-bat in pinstripes, Hensley Meulens was the third man up for the Yankees on Thursday morning, as the former infielder and outfielder became the latest to interview for the club's managerial vacancy.
Meulens, 50, spent eight years as the Giants' hitting coach before being reassigned last month to bench coach -- a position that's often considered a stepping stone toward managing in the Major Leagues. The Curacao native is excited about the idea of coming back to New York.
"This is where I grew up," Meulens said. "I learned to play the game here. I got my first crack at being a Major Leaguer here in New York. I was the first player out of my country to play in the big leagues. There is a lot of history there that goes back and will welcome me back into this environment."
Meulens followed Rob Thomson and Eric Wedge, who went through the five-hour interview process in New York last week. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman paused the search while the team participated in the GM Meetings, and he has lined up an interview for Friday that is believed to be with Aaron Boone.
Jerry Hairston Jr. and Chris Woodward are among those who have been contacted by the Yankees, with the team expected to interview fewer than 10 candidates, according to managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner. David Cone and John Flaherty have also expressed interest in the position.
Since leading the Netherlands to fourth-place finishes in the World Baseball Classic in 2013 and '17, Meulens' eventual candidacy for a Major League managerial job appeared inevitable. Meulens has worked in past offseasons with Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius and can speak five languages, including Spanish, Dutch, Papiamento and Japanese.
"You find yourself using them more than you think," Meulens said. "Nowadays, there is a big percentage of Latin players in the game and they keep coming from all angles. The guys in Asia, there's more and more coming to play in the Major Leagues. What I find is the connection with explaining something to them in their own language, they seem to comprehend it better."
Meulens previously interviewed this offseason for the Tigers' managerial vacancy that went to Ron Gardenhire. Meulens said that he asked several current and former managers for advice before traveling to New York, including Don Mattingly, Dave Roberts, Dusty Baker, Jeff Banister and Torey Lovullo.
Nicknamed "Bam Bam," Meulens was a highly regarded prospect with New York in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
"Early in my interview, I was expressing how everything that was instilled in me -- especially winning and becoming a true baseball player -- I've learned here in the Yankees family," he said. "I was a young player, signed at 18 years old, and was in the big leagues just after turning 22. That was pretty fast. Everything that I get associated with as a player was as a Yankee."
Meulens hit .221 with 12 homers and 46 RBIs in 159 games over five seasons with the Yankees (1989-93) before playing in Japan, then returning to suit up for the Expos in 1997 and the D-backs in '98.
"I'm regarded as somebody that communicates really well, and has had a ton of experience all over the world," Meulens said. "I'm somebody that is ready to take the challenge and bring new positive energy on a daily basis, and also being able to connect with everybody on the roster."
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.