Rangers shake up minors hitting instructors

With the recent conclusion of the Texas Rangers' 2012 minor league campaign, the organization has announced that four minor league hitting coaches––including both roving coordinators––will not be returning for the 2013 season. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at the changes.

The upcoming 2012-2013 offseason will be Tim Purpura's first full offseason as the Texas Rangers' Senior Director of Player Development, and there have already been a number of changes made to the organization's minor league coaching staff.

The Rangers have announced that four minor league hitting instructors––including both roving coordinators––will not have their contracts renewed for the 2013 season.

The shake-up includes minor league hitting coordinator Randy Ready, assistant hitting coordinator Luis Ortiz, Triple-A Round Rock hitting coach Brant Brown, and High-A Myrtle Beach hitting coach Julio Garcia.

The Rangers also will not be renewing the contract of Triple-A pitching coach Terry Clark. He is presumably the only minor league pitching coach who will not return––as of now, at least––for next season.

It's certainly not unusual to see changes made with the farm under relatively new management, as Purpura and his staff are looking to build a group of minor league instructors that fit their overall style and philosophy. Scott Servais, who largely assembled the organization's 2012 minor league coaching staff, was the Rangers' farm director between 2005 and 2011 before taking a job with the Los Angeles Angels last offseason.

Purpura, while best known for his stint as the Houston Astros' General Manager between November 2004 and August 2007, served seven seasons as Houston's farm director from '97 to '04.

When new leadership is put in charge––whether it be a farm director or scouting director––staff adjustments often occur. Rangers Director of Amateur Scouting Kip Fagg has shaken up the organization's amateur scouting staff in recent years since taking over for Ron Hopkins in October 2009.

But the changes do come as a bit of a surprise, as the Rangers haven't had such a minor league coaching shakeup in recent years.

Ready, 52, departs the Rangers' organization after spending just one season overseeing the club's minor league hitters. The Metroplex resident had previously served as the San Diego Padres' major league hitting coach between July 2009 and September 2011.

Ortiz, 42, was perhaps the biggest surprise of the moves. Also a Metroplex resident, Ortiz coached with Texas for five seasons, including three as a roving hitting instructor before being promoted to assistant hitting coordinator last offseason.

Brown, 41, was the longest tenured hitting coach to be let go. The former Cubs outfielder served as a minor league hitting coach at three levels for the Rangers between 2007 and 2012, including High-A Bakersfield for two years, Double-A Frisco for three, and at Triple-A Round Rock this season.

Garcia, 52, recently finished his second campaign overseeing the hitters at High-A Myrtle Beach. The Cuba native and Texas resident had worked the previous three years as a manager and special assistant in the Cincinnati farm system.

As mentioned, the Rangers also announced that they will be cutting ties with Triple-A Round Rock pitching coach Terry Clark, who had worked in that capacity between the Double- and Triple-A levels for the organization since 2006.

There's no official timetable as to when the five replacements will be announced. The club typically names its yearly minor league field staff around the second week of January. But it will be interesting to follow how the positions are filled––whether it be promoting from within or bringing in outside coaches. Given the fact that the Rangers' minor league system is under relatively new management, it may be most likely that at least a few experienced coaches are brought in to fill the upper-level and coordinator openings.

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