Former Astros slugger Jeff Bagwell will begin his tenure as the club’s hitting coach on Thursday night, as Houston opens the second half of the 2010 season with a series against the Pirates. Alyson Footer, who works for the team as senior director of social media, passes along this photo.
Bagwell looks like he could strap up the cleats and hit a few out of Pittsburgh’s PNC Park tonight, but that is not his mission. The 42-year-old will try his best to help the Astros climb out of Major League Baseball’s offensive cellar.
Entering the All-Star break, the Astros ranked 28th in the league in runs scored, 29th in batting average, 29th in slugging percentage and tied for dead last in home runs with 57. Bagwell, of course, was known for hitting dingers during his 15-year professional career and will try to pass along some knowledge.
Of course, it can be debated whether or not a hitting coach has any impact on the performance of athletes who have been playing the game at the highest level for years. Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle, for one, thinks the Bagwell hire was all part of a lame public relations ploy and that former batting coach Sean Berry should have never been dumped from his post.
In the seemingly never-ending trend of front office officials getting new titles, the Cleveland Indians just announced that General Manager Chris Antonetti has been promoted to President of Baseball Operations and Mike Chernoff is now the GM.
Antonetti has been the Tribe’s GM for the past five years and is moving up in the wake of team president Mark Shapiro moving on to Toronto. Shapiro, however, also held business side responsibilities which Antonetti will not assume. Meaning, as before, he will be the top guy on baseball ops decisions, albeit with a grander title.
Chernoff has been an assistant GM for five years and has been with the organization for the past 12 years. As many new GMs these days he will, functionally speaking, still be an assistant when it comes to baseball decisions.
Yoenis Cespedes, who took a pitch off his hand last week, scaring the bejesus out of Mets fans, said today that he’s “100 percent ready” for the NLDS against the Dodgers.
He sat out Thursday and then went 2-for-7 with a double and a walk in the Mets’ remaining games. While he only had bruises on those fingers, pain and discomfort have, in the past affected guys who have been hit on the hands, messing with grip and power. Cesepdes saying that’s not an issue is a good thing.