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November 03, 2009

Hitting coach: Who's it going to be?

A decision could come today on who will replace Rudy Jaramillo as the Rangers' hitting coach. Four finalists spent Monday chatting up a group of Rangers brass (Jon Daniels, Nolan Ryan, Ron Washington, Thad Levine; no Scott Servais, as was previously reported), and that brass is batting around which candidate is the best fit.

Three of the four had the priviledge of talking to me. One declined to go on the record, which is fine, and Clint Hurdle and Thad Bosley didn't seem like they were in campaign mode during the phone conversations. Each seemed ready to tackle the challenge of molding the Rangers' young hitters and tweaking the offensive philosophy.

When asked to describe what they liked about the Rangers, Hurdle and Bosley each said, "They're on the cusp." That's got them excited, too, and no doubt Rusty Greer and Gerald Perry like the Rangers' future as well.

So, how is this thing going to get sorted out, especially if the candidates are all even?

Bosley: If enthusiasm counts, Bosley's the guy. He helped shape Oakland's young hitters in the late 1990s, and they produced enough to back Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito. He's been out of the game since 2003, but has been a college coach in California.

Greer: Obviously, he's well-known within the organization. If the Rangers want someone with big-league experience, Greer's out. If they want someone who understands the baseball culture in the Metroplex, Greer's in. If the lack of moving expenses comes into play, the Colleyville-based Greer has an edge.

Hurdle: The candidate who was most familiar to the guys who interviewed him. He was manager in Colorado until being dismissed in May, but he guided the Rockies to a World Series in 2007. He was their hitting coach for five seasons before taking over as manager in 2002.

Perry: He seemed to be a scapegoat for an underachieving Cubs team this season, as he was dismissed as their hitting coach in June. He also worked alongside Washington in Oakland in 2006, and the A's finished second in the league in walks. Perry is also a former Seattle hitting coach.

-- Jeff Wilson


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