Cubs name new bench coach, mental skills coordinator

The Chicago Cubs rang in 2019 by naming a couple additions to their coaching and support staff.

Former big-leaguer Mark Loretta is the new bench coach, replacing Brandon Hyde, who left to become manager of the Baltimore Orioles.

Bob Tewksbury, who pitched for the Cubs in 1987-88, is the new mental skills coordinator.

The 47-year-old Loretta is a 1993 graduate of Northwestern University. He spent the last nine seasons in the San Diego Padres front office after retiring as a player in January 2010. He most recently served as a special assistant, baseball operations.

Loretta came up with the Milwaukee Brewers in 1995 and played in parts of 15 major-league seasons. He had a career batting line of .295/.360/.395 with 76 homers. He was an all-star with the Padres in 2004 and with the Red Sox in 2006.

Tewksbury, 58, enters his 38th year in professional baseball, including 13 years as a major-league pitcher and 15 years in mental skills.

He had a career record of 110-102 with a 3.92 ERA from 1986-98 with six teams. Tewksbury was an all-star with the Cardinals in 1992.

After retiring as a player, Tewksbury earned his B.S. in physical education from St. Leo University (2000) and his master's of education in sport psychology and counseling from Boston University (2004). He spent 10 years as the mental-skills coordinator for the Red Sox from 2004-13, was the director of player development for the MLB Players Association in 2014, returned to the Red Sox for two seasons from 2015-16 and most recently served as mental performance coach for the San Francisco Giants from 2017-18.

Tewksbury essentially fills the job previously held by noted sports psychologist Ken Ravizza, who died during the 2018 baseball season. He is author of the book, "Ninety Percent Mental: An All-Star Player Turned Mental Skills Coach Reveals the Hidden Game of Baseball."

During a segment on WSCR radio's "Hit and Run" with Daily Herald columnist Barry Rozner, Tewskbury said last summer he wrote the book to "share the story of understanding performance from a mental perspective." He noted that the mental aspect of sports have become more demanding, especially with players having to deal with social media, money, media demands and the demands of time and training.

Tewksbury also told "Hit and Run" that he has known Cubs stars Jon Lester and Anthony Rizzo since they were young players coming up in the Boston system.

He talked in the interview of Lester being able to "go out and dominate" despite the mental block of not being able to throw to first base. He also recalled Rizzo complaining to him while in Class A ball of not being able to "get more than 1 hit in a game."

"I said, 'Listen to yourself,'" Tewksbury said with a laugh during the radio interview.

The Cubs have put a big emphasis on mental-skills coaching in recent years, with the full blessing of team president Theo Epstein and manager Joe Maddon.

New year, old story: Bulls blown out by Magic

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.