Cardinals hire ex-slugger Matt Holliday as new bench coach

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The St. Louis Cardinals hired ex-slugger Matt Holliday, who helped the organization win the World Series in 2011, as manager Oliver Marmol‘s bench coach.

Holliday replaces Skip Schumaker, who was hired last month as the manager of the Miami Marlins.

The Cardinals also announced Dusty Blake, who had been a pitching strategist, was promoted to pitching coach and Turner Ward, who had been an assistant hitting coach, was promoted to hitting coach. Blake replaces Mike Maddux and Ward takes over for Jeff Albert. Both stepped away after long tenures with the Cardinals.

Cardinals president John Mozeliak acknowledged the club would have a lot of openings to fill late last month, saying he wasn’t opposed to hiring someone from outside the organization.

“We want to make sure we’re addressing all our needs,” Mozeliak said.

He got the best of both of both worlds in Holliday. The 42-year-old slugger, a seven-time All-Star during his 15-year big league career, had been coaching at Oklahoma State in his hometown of Stillwater.

He began his career with the Rockies before spending eight years in St. Louis, where he became a fan favorite. Holliday retired in 2018 after a year with the Yankees and a final year in Colorado.

The Cardinals filled out their coaching staff by choosing Brand Allen, a member of their minor league staff, to replace Ward as their assistant hitting coach. Julio Rangle, who had been with the Red Sox, will be the new assistant pitching coach.

Patrick Elkins will return for another season as the club’s run-production specialist. Stubby Clapp will be back as first base coach, Pop Warner as third base coach, Willie McGee as a coach and Jamie Pogue and Kleininger Teran as bullpen catchers.

The Cardinals went 93-69 and won their second NL Central title in the past four years this season. They were swept by the eventual National League champion Philadelphia Phillies in their two-game, wild-card series.

Orioles option LHP Bruce Zimmermann to minors

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SARASOTA, Fla. – The Baltimore Orioles have optioned left-handers Bruce Zimmermann and Nick Vespi and reassigned infielder Lewin Díaz, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez and catcher Mark Kolozsvary to minor league camp.

The Orioles announced the moves Monday.

Baltimore’s spring training roster now has 46 players.

Zimmermann made 13 starts last season. He went 2-5 with a 5.99 ERA.

The competition for rotation spots with the Orioles has been a significant story during spring training, but after the team acquired Cole Irvin and Kyle Gibson in the offseason – and with top prospect Grayson Rodriguez in the mix as well – there were a lot of pitchers Zimmermann needed to beat out.