Cubs Hire Speier

CHICAGO - The Cubs have named veteran Chris Speier, who spent the last two seasons with the Oakland Athletics, third base coach for the upcoming 2005 season. Speier, 54, joins his fifth major league club as a coach.

Speier spent a total of 19 seasons in the majors as a player, including two on the North Side from 1985-86. He was a career .246 hitter with over 7,000 major league at-bats and was a three-time all-star (1972-74).

In 2001, he was third base coach for the World Champion Arizona Diamondbacks under Bob Brenly.

Then in 2003, Speier joined manager Ken Macha's staff in Oakland, where he served as bench coach for two seasons. He replaces former Cubs third base coach Wendell Kim, who was fired by manager Dusty Baker following two seasons.

Earlier this month, the Cubs made a series of coaching changes, in which they alternated the roles of coaches Gene Clines and Gary Matthews. Clines was named the club's new hitting coach, while Matthews was moved into the first base coach's box.

Speier's son, Justin, a former Cub who was drafted by the organization in 1995, now pitches with the Toronto Blue Jays.

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