Blue Jays name 5 coaches under manager John Gibbons
Former hitting coach Dwayne Murphy moves to 1st base while futures of Wakamatsu, Walton unclear
Dwayne Murphy is part of the Toronto Blue Jays 2013 coaching staff, but former bench coach Don Wakamatsu and pitching coach Bruce Walton probably will need to find work elsewhere.
Murphy, who watched the team finish 14th among 30 major league teams in batting average in 2012 as its hitting coach, will shift to first base next season under new, er, old manager John Gibbons. He was also named outfield coach Monday.
Wakamatsu’s name, which was bandied about during the recent manager search, was absent from a team news release of coaching additions. Walton was the team's pitching coach since 2010 after previouly serving as bullpen coach for seven-plus seasons. The bullpen coaching position has yet to be filled for the 2013 season.
DeMarlo Hale, who also was said to be in the manager mix, at least early in the process, joins the organization as bench coach while Chad Mottola has been promoted from AAA to serve as hitting coach. For the past two Septembers, he was called up to help Toronto hitters in the final month of the season.
Luis Rivera, whom the Blue Jays named a coaching assistant in November 2010, takes over from Brian Butterfield as third base coach. Butterfield and one-time first base coach Torey Lovullo followed manager John Farrell to Boston recently, the latter as bench coach.
Pete Walker is back, moving from bullpen coach to pitching coach. He began his tenure with the Jays organization in 2009 working with the clubs' rehabbing pitchers.
Hale, 51, brings 11 years of major league coaching experience to Toronto, most recently serving as bench coach in Baltimore in 2012.
After playing five seasons in the minors, he accepted his first coaching position in the Red Sox organization in 1992. Hale was also third base coach in Boston from 2006 through 2009 and bench coach for the 2010 and 2011 seasons.
Mottola was a favourite of Farrell, who added the 41-year-old to his staff the past two Septembers when each team is allowed to add one coach to the major league staff.
Mottola spent the past three seasons with the AAA Las Vegas 51s (now Buffalo Bisons) and annually spends the first part of spring training at major league camp in Dunedin, Fla.
"I know a lot of these guys from playing with them, from having them in the minor leagues," Mottola told the Toronto Star in September.
The Blue Jays recognized Mottola following the 2012 campaign with the Bobby Mattick Award for excellence in player development.
The former major league outfielder broke into coaching in 2008 as hitting coach of the Gulf Coast Blue Jays (rookie league). Mottola was roving minor league instructor the next season before joining Las Vegas.
Murphy, 57, returns for a sixth straight season and 10th in the organization. A six-time Gold Glove winner, the former centre-fielder will be responsible for outfield defence next season. He coached first base for Toronto in 2008 and 2009.
The 48-year-old Rivera joined the Blue Jays organization two years ago as manager of the AA New Hampshire Fisher Cats. A former major league infielder, he was the Cleveland Indians infield and first base coach for three seasons after coaching and managing in the organization from 2000 to 2005.
Gibbons was manager for two seasons during Walker’s time pitching for Toronto from 2002 to 2003 and 2005-06. The 43-year-old Walker was the Jays bullpen coach last season.