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Red Sox hire hitting coach Tim Hyers

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The Red Sox added hitting coach Tim Hyers and assistant hitting coach Andy Barkett to Alex Cora’s coaching staff on Saturday, per a team announcement. Hyers is fresh off of a two-year stint as the Dodgers’ hitting coach and director of Minor League hitting, while Barkett recently completed a one-year gig as the Pirates’ Triple-A manager.

Hyers, 46, played first base for the Padres, Tigers and Marlins during the mid-1990s. His major league career flamed out after just four seasons, but he picked up a gig as a hitting coach for the Tigers’ Single-A affiliate in 2002 and later served as an area scout, minor league hitting coordinator and interim coach for the Red Sox. He broke into the majors again when the Dodgers hired him in 2016 and helped the team to two playoff appearances.

“I’m a hitting coach at heart,” he told the Rockdale/Newton Citizen back in August, several weeks before the Dodgers started trudging through a two-week slump. “I don’t want to manage. I love working with hitters. I like the grind, the ups and downs. I was that type of player. I grinded through my career and had some good times and bad times. All players go through it and you’ve got to keep working, trust the process. One big thing is keeping it simple, but also not forgetting about who you are as a player. A lot of them want to do too much. It’s about not forgetting who you are and sticking with your strengths.”

Barkett, 43, lasted several months as an infielder/outfielder for the 2001 Pirates before capping his career in the majors. He has not coached at the big league level yet, but has acquired extensive experience working with the minor league affiliates of the Pirates, Braves, Marlins and Tigers over the last 11 seasons.

Cora will be formally introduced as the Red Sox’ manager on Monday. Excepting bullpen coach and catching instructor Dana Levangie, he’ll be rolling with a brand-new coaching staff for the 2018 season, including first base coach and outfield instructor Tom Goodwin, third base coach and infield instructor Carlos Febles and bench coach Ron Roenicke. He has yet to name a pitching coach.

Baseball to honor Stoneman Douglas High School as spring training games begin

New Era
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There were a few exhibitions against college teams yesterday but today the Grapefruit League and Cactus League schedules begin in earnest, with big league teams, more or less, facing big league team, more or less.

The baseball will look like baseball, but the teams will be wearing different caps today: black caps with the maroon “SD” of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 people were killed in a mass shooting on February 14.

All teams and umpire crews will wear the caps pre-game, and they have the option to wear the caps during the games. The only two teams not playing today — the Royals and Rangers — will wear them tomorrow.

After the games players will sign the caps and they will be auctioned off to raise money for the Broward Education Foundation, which benefits the official Stoneman Douglas Victims’ Fund.

Here’s today’s schedule: