Per Tom Singer of MLB.com, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said at PirateFest today that Jeff Branson has been hired as the team’s assistant hitting coach.
Branson, who played in the majors with the Reds, Indians and Dodgers, has served as the hitting coach with Triple-A Indianapolis for the past four seasons. He already has experience with some of the team’s young hitters, so it should be a natural transition. He’ll join first time hitting coach Jay Bell, who was hired in late October after Gregg Ritchie stepped down to take the head coach job at George Washington University.
Bell and Branson will be tasked with getting more out of an offense which ranked 27th in on-base percentage, 25th in batting average and OPS and 23rd in runs scored in 2012.
Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association announced this morning that they are contributing $250,000 to assist victims of the devastating floods that recently hit Louisiana.
The $250,000 contribution is being divided among three charitable organizations: The American Red Cross will receive a $125,000 contribution and two charities connected to Major League Players – the Baton Rouge Area Foundation and High Socks for Hope – will each receive a $62,500 contribution.
According to the joint press release, several players with connections to the area, including Reid Brignac, Will Harris, Wade LeBlanc, Mikie Mahtook, Anthony Ranaudo and Ryan Schimpf were consulted in determining which organizations would receive funding support.
Nice move, union and league.
We mentioned this in the recaps this morning but Yoenis Cespedes deserves a post of his own.
He deserves it for his walkoff homer in the tenth inning of last night’s game against the Marlins. He deserves it for the fact that he’s hit five homers and has driven in nine runs in his last ten games while raising his batting average ten points. And, most of all, he deserves it for the magnificent bat flip after watching the ball fly:
Here’s the whole play from MLB.com: