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St. Louis’ third base coach Jose Oquendo’s knee problem leads to three Cardinals coaching changes

St. Louis’ third base coach Jose Oquendo’s knee problem leads to three Cardinals coaching changes, including Derrick May joining the Major League staff.

St. Louis Cardinals press release

The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that Third Base Coach Jose Oquendo, who recently underwent right knee surgery, will be taking a medical leave of absence from the team for the foreseeable future. 

In Oquendo’s absence, the team announced that Chris Maloney will handle the third base coaching duties and Bill Mueller will now coach first base and provide infield instruction.

Minor League Hitting Coordinator Derrick May will take over Mueller’s duties as Assistant Hitting Coach and Minor League Offensive Strategist George Greer will now oversee hitting instruction for all of the minor leagues.

Oquendo, 52, has been part of the team’s Major League coaching staff since 1999, including the past 16 seasons as Third Base and Infield Coach.

Brian Walton’s take

Here is hoping that Oquendo, who has been in camp on crutches and riding in a cart, can get his full health back soon. His return to work may not occur this season, however. The chain of changes make complete sense, with Maloney, a more experienced coach, moving over to Oquendo’s regular spot at third. Mueller, a former Major League infielder himself, seems a good fit to become the primary infield and first base coach.

Brian Walton / The Cardinal Nation

It is especially encouraging that after the last three assistant hitting coaches were brought in from the outside, for the organization to promote from within this time. May, 47, was starting his sixth year as minor league hitting coordinator after six seasons as the hitting coach with Palm Beach and Springfield. Just 12 months ago, the former MLB outfielder received the George Kissell Award for excellence in player development for the 2014 season. More about May can be read here.

Greer, a very experienced hitting coach but in just his third year with St. Louis, is well-prepared to take over the system-wide hitting coordinator role from May.

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Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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