Ozzie Guillen brought bench Joey Cora with him from the White Sox to the Marlins, but it looks like the rest of Florida’s coaching staff is going to remain mostly the same under the new manager.
Last week the Marlins announced that hitting coach Eduardo Perez and pitching coach Randy St. Claire would be staying for 2012 and now Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports that third base coach Joe Espada and bullpen coach Reid Cornelius will also be retained.
Former bench coach Brandon Hyde lost his gig to Cora and first base coach Perry Hill won’t be coming back in 2012 because of a knee injury.
Meanwhile, back in Chicago pitching coach Don Cooper got a multi-year contract extension and hitting coach Greg Walker stepped down immediately after the season.
Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.
Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.
Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.
What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.
That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.