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.