The Cubs haven't completed their new coaching staff, but they took giant strides in that direction Friday.
New manager Rick Renteria will inherit pitching coach Chris Bosio and bullpen coach Lester Strode from the staff of former manager Dale Sveum.
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As had been speculated, former Cubs third baseman Bill Mueller takes over as hitting coach, replacing James Rowson, who left for the New York Yankees organization. Mueller, who was an interim hitting coach for the Dodgers in 2007, most recently has been a special assistant in the Dodgers front office.
The most interesting coaching decision is the move of Brandon Hyde from director of player development to bench coach. Hyde, who joined the Cubs organization in 2011, may be a key conduit to the front office as well as someone who can communicate effectively with the Cubs' younger players. He does have bench-coaching experience in the big leagues, having served as Jack McKeon's right-hand man with the Marlins from June 2010 through 2011.
The Cubs also named Gary Jones their third-base coach, Mike Brumley assistant hitting coach and Jose Castro to the newly created post of "quality assurance coach." They also retained Mike Borzello, who previously was a staff assistant working with catchers and helping Bosio with game plans. Borzello's new title is catching and strategy coach. Staff assistant Franklin Font, an organizational man for almost 20 years, remains in his role.
The Cubs still need to hire a first-base coach to replace Dave McKay, who left for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
There was some other organizational fallout from Friday's moves. To fill Hyde's old duties, the Cubs named Jaron Madison director of player development. Madison, who joined the Cubs in August 2012, had been director of amateur scouting. Matt Dorey, who this year worked for the Cubs as a national and regional crosschecker, has been named director of amateur scouting.
The retention of Bosio, Strode and Borzello comes as no surprise. The three had earned good reviews for their work with an ever-changing Cubs pitching staff the last two seasons and with the development of young catcher Welington Castillo.
On the other hand, the Cubs will be on their third hitting coach in three season in the reign of team president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer. Epstein and Hoyer inherited Rudy Jaramillo from the previous baseball regime but fired him during the 2012 season and replaced him with Rowson.
The Cubs have had trouble getting on base for several years, and that didn't change during the first two years of the Epstein-Hoyer management team.
Mueller played for the Cubs for parts of 2001 and 2002, but a serious knee injury suffered in May 2001 wiped out any chance he might have had to be effective. He rebounded in 2003 to win the American League batting title while with the Red Sox.
His new assistant, Brumley, replaces Rob Deer. Brumley played for the Cubs in 1987 and spent the last four years as first-base coach for the Seattle Mariners.
Castro spent the last 25 years as a minor-league hitting coordinator or hitting coach in the Kansas City, Seattle, Florida, San Diego and Montreal organizations. He also served an interim stint as Seattle's major league hitting coach in 2008.
Jones spent the last 11 years in the San Diego organization.
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