Cubs hire hitting coach; 10/9 recap

Cubs hired John Mallee as the new hitting coach and added former Cub Doug Dascenzo as first base coach. Also a look at action in the WInter League including the opening day of the Venezuelan League.

Cubs hire John Mallee as hitting coach
The Cubs announced what was reported shortly after Bill Mueller resigned as hitting coach—John Mallee of the Houston Astros was the favorite for the job. The 45-year-old Chicago native returns home after two years with the Astros.

Mallee was with the Marlins for eight years, working with current Cub coaches Brandon Hyde (bench coach), Tim Cossins (minor league coordinator) and Anthony Iapoce (minor league hitting instructor). Mallee attended the University of Illinois and was drafted by the Phillies in 1991 in the 12th round. Mallee is the fourth hitting coach in four years following Mueller, James Rowson and Rudy Jaramillo

“Dream come true,” Mallee said in a statement. “I have been in professional baseball as a player or coach for over 20 years and have never had an opportunity to see my family during the season until now. I grew up a Cub fan and always dreamed of standing on the field and representing this amazing franchise. Leaving the Houston Astros is the toughest decision I’ve  ever had to make. Amazing owner, general manager, front office and beyond talented players. I wish my Houston family the best of luck and their future successes and hope they can understand and respect that I had to make the best decision for my family.”

Story from Brian McTaggert of on Mallee’s work with AL batting champ Jose Altuve.

The Cubs also announced the rest of their 2015 coaching staff including the addition of former Cubs player Doug Dascenzo as the new first base/outfield coach with Eric Hinske shifting from first base to assistant hitting coach. The Braves third base coach in 2014, Dascenzo was with the padres for 13 season, serving as a minor league manager and coach. He worked with both Cubs GM Jed Hoyer and Player Development DIrector Jason McLeod while with the Padres. Drafted by the Cubs in the 12th round in 1985, Dascenzo hit .240/.301/.300 in five season with North Siders. He also played for the Rangers and Padres.

Eric Hinske will move from first base/outfield coach to assistant hitting coach, a position previously held by Mike Brumley before his reassignment to scout. Hinske spent his first year with Cubs in 2014 and his first in coaching after a 12-year MLB career that included Rookie of the Year honors and two world championships with Red Sox and Yankees.

Rick Renteria’s returning coaching staff for 2015 includes pitching coach Chris Bosio, bench coach Brandon Hyde, third base/infield coach Gary Jones, bullpen coach Lester Strode, catching and strategy coach Mike Bordello, quality assurance coach Jose Castro and staff assistant Franklin Font.

Arizona Fall League—Salt River 7, Mesa 3

Three Cubs started Thursday night in the los to Salt River. SS Addison Russell went 0-for-4, was hit by a pitch, and stole a base.......1B Daniel Vogelbach walked three times and fanned twice in five plate appearances......LF Jacob Hannemann doubled in the 8th and walked in four trips to plate.....C.J. Edwards gets the start on Friday night vs. Surprise.

Venezuelan Winter League—Opening Day
Willson Contreras started behind the plate for Aragua’s 4-1 opening night win. The 22-year-old went 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts .....Yoanner Negrin (Iowa) got the start for Caracas and was charged with two runs on five hits and two walks in three innings. He fanned four and threw 61 pitches, 35 for strikes. He took the loss.

In Magallanes’ 7-0 loss to Margarita, former Cub prospect A.J. Morris (Pirates) gave up three runs, two earned in two innings, yielding three hits and a walk.

La Guaria, who is managed by Tennessee skipper Buddy Bailey, dropped their opener 3-2 to Caribes. Left-handed reliever Joseph Ortiz, recently acquired on waivers from the Rangers, will pitch for La Guaria........Former Cubs prospect Yeiper Castillo is on the Zulia roster, who won 5-4 on a walk-off in the ninth over Lara.

2014 MiLBY Awards is holding its annual minor league awards for 2014 and several Cubs prospects as well as the entire minor league system are up for honors. Kris Bryant is nominated for Top Offensive Player while Armando Rivero is up for Top Relief Pitcher. Chris Rusin’s no-hitter for Iowa against New Orleans is nominated for Game of the Year. Kane County is the front runner for Best Team and the Cubs are the favorite for Best Farm System.

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