BY CLAYTON RICHER – FAN FUEL BLOGGER
Holy Mottola, everyone Hale the Toronto Blue Jays! The 2013 coaching staff for the upcoming playoff push adds some new faces and welcomes back some familiar faces, albeit in different roles.
DeMarlo Hale will join John Gibbons as the Blue Jays new bench coach replacing Don Wakamatsu who was not renewed. Hale spent last season as the third base coach for the division rival Baltimore Orioles.
Former Blue Jays pitcher Pete Walker will take over the helm as pitching coach replacing Bruce Walton who like Wakamatsu was not offered a contract. Walker earns the promotion after serving as the Jays bullpen coach last season.
The likeable Dwayne Murphy will be back with the Jays however not in the same capacity as seasons past. Murphy will no longer be assigned as the hitting coach rather accepting a position as the first base coach as well as working with the outfielders.
Former Blue Jay and triple-A hitting coach Chad Mottola will replace Murphy as the hitting coach and bring a fresh approach to Jays hitters.
Luis Rivera who served last season as the sixth coach will now get a chance at field level replacing Brian Butterfield at third base. Rivera will work with the infielders and be the liaison for the Latin players.
After perusing the playing and managing history of the Jays new coaching staff it appears there are some interesting facts and a definite six degrees of separation between the coaches and current players.
Chad Mottola: was selected in the first round, fifth overall in the 1992 amateur draft by the Cincinnati Reds. The following pick after Mottola in the draft belonged to the New York Yankees who selected future Hall of Famer Derek Jeter. Mottola would go on to play 59 major league games over a 10 year span from 1996 to 2006. Mottola would play 10 games in 2006 with the Blue Jays under manager John Gibbons. Mottola would go to play 1,800 minor league games where he amassed a career .280 average and 249 round trippers with various organizations.
DeMarlo Hale: has managed 1,248 career minor league games between 1993 and 2001 with both the Boston Red Sox and the Texas Rangers. Hale would manage Blue Jays reliever Darren Oliver for parts of 2000 and 2001 while with the Rangers triple-A affiliate. Hopefully Hale can coax the rock steady Oliver to return to the bullpen and forego his retirement plans.
Hale also managed Blue Jays new pitching coach Pete Walker in 1997 when they were members of the Red Sox affiliate Trenton Thunder. Hale also played in the minors with none other than former Jays pitching coach Bruce Walton in 1988 as members of the Athletics double-A affiliate Huntsville Stars.
Just to add to the six degrees of separation Hale managed John Gibbons arch nemesis Shea Hillenbrand in the Red Sox farm system years before the proverbial “ship would sink”.
Pete Walker: In 2001 Walker posted a 13-4 record with the New York Mets triple-A affiliate Norfolk Tides under you guessed it manager John Gibbons. Walker would again pitch for Gibbons as a member of the 2006 Toronto Blue Jays.
Walker also attended the University of Connecticut which is the same university that current Jays speedster Rajai Davis attended.
John Gibbons: was drafted in the first round, 24th overall by the New York Mets in 1980 the same draft that the Mets would select Darryl Strawberry and Billy Beane.
The Blue Jays had the second overall pick in that draft selecting shortstop Gerry Harris. Harris would play four seasons in the minor leagues never eclipsing double-A.
The Indians selected Kelly Gruber with the 10th overall selection in the draft while the Montreal Expos would select Terry Francona with the 22nd overall pick.
If nothing else the Blue Jays new and improved coaching staff should have experience and familiarity with one another which bodes well for Blue Jays players and fans alike.
Clayton Richer is a baseball writer for Baseball Hot Corner, his interviews and blogs can be found daily at www.baseballhotcorner.com as well you can also follow him on twitter MLBHotCorner
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