The Mariners are moving in the fences … as much as 17 feet!

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Safeco Field is where offense goes to die.  Maybe not in the future. Larry Stone of the Seattle Times reports that the Mariners are moving in their fences next season.

The specifics: The fences will be moved in four feet from the left field corner to the space between the bullpens — which is roughly straightway left field. Likewise,  From straightaway center to right center, the wall will be moved in four feet. Four feet is significant. But that’s nothing compared to this:

Wow. Launching pad west? I dunno. I know that park kills offense, especially for righthanders, but that seems like lots of feet. Like, several more than many.

In addition, the hand-operated scoreboard in left will be relocated. Now it’s 16 feet high and in play. The new wall will be uniformly 8 feet high.

It’s official, and the changes have been approved by Major League Baseball.  Gentlemen, start your Hittrackers and let’s see how much this will warp the offense in Seattle. If it is indeed warped at all.

Yankees to hire Josh Bard as their new bench coach

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Aaron Boone has no experience as a coach or a manager at any level. As such, some have speculated that he’d hire a more seasoned hand as his bench coach as he begins his first season as Yankees manager. Someone like, say, Eric Wedge, who was a candidate for the job Boone got and who once managed Boone in Cleveland.

Nope. According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, he’s going with Josh Bard.

Bard, 39, was a teammate of Boone’s with the Indians in 2005. He’s not without coaching experience, having spent the last two seasons as the Dodgers’ bullpen coach, but he’s not that Gene Lamont/Don Zimmer-type we often see in the bench coach role.

Which is fine because different managers want different things from their bench coach. Some are strategy guys, helping with in-game decision making. Others are relationship guys who help managers understand all of the dynamics of the clubhouse while they’re worrying more about lineups and stuff. Others are trust guys, who can serve as the manager’s sounding board, among other things. Some are combinations of all of these things. As Feinsand notes in his story, Boone said at his introductory press conference that he’s looking for this:

“I want smart sitting next to me. I want confidence sitting next to me. I want a guy who can walk out into that room and as I talk about relationships I expect to have with my players, I expect that even to be more so with my coaching staff. Whether that is a guy with all kinds of experience or little experience. I am not concerned about that.”