Molitor named M's hitting coach

The Mariners ended weeks of speculation surrounding the hiring of a new hitting coach by naming Paul Molitor as the man for the job. Molitor replaces Lamar Johnson, who held the position for just one season in Seattle before being relieved of his duties.

The wait is over. At least one of them.

While the Seattle Mariners' search for a general manager continues, their hunt for the team's next batting instructor ended late Thursday when it was announced that Paul Molitor had been hired on to a one-year contract.

Molitor played 21 years with the Milwaukee, Toronto and Minnesota and racked up 3,319 hits before retiring in 1998.

The 47-year-old replaces Lamar Johnson and becomes the third hitting coach in Seattle in three seasons. Gerald Perry had the position in 2001 after several years with the team.

Molitor served as a roving minor league infield instructor for the Twins last season, and was a bench coach under Tom Kelly in 2000 and 2001. He was a top candidate to replace Kelly as the Twins' manager in 2002 before the team hired Ron Gardenhire.

Others who were considered for the Mariners' hitting coach position included Leon Lee, Chili Davis, former Arizona Diamondback's batting coach Dwayne Murphy and former Tampa Bay and Kansas City manager Hal McRae.

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