EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 30, 2012

Sox name Rodriguez assistant hitting coach, complete staff

By Christopher Smith
csmith@eagletribune.com

---- — The Boston Red Sox hired Victor Rodriguez as the assistant hitting coach yesterday, just two days after hiring Greg Colbrunn as hitting coach.

Rodriguez, 51, spent the past six seasons as Boston’s minor league hitting coordinator.

He has been a coach in the Red Sox organization since 1995 — working in several different capacities, including Latin field coordinator, minor league hitting instructor and Single-A hitting coach.

Colbrunn, 43, spent the past six years with Single-A Charleston, serving five seasons as hitting coach and one season as manager.

The Red Sox now have put together their 2013 coaching staff.

Arnie Beyeler, who managed the PawSox this past season, will be the first base coach. Torey Lovullo, a former PawSox manager who coached first base for the Blue Jays in 2011 and ‘12, is the bench coach.

Brian Butterfield, who was the Blue Jays third base coach for the past three seasons, is the new Red Sox third base coach.

Juan Nieves, who served as the White Sox bullpen coach from 2008-12, is the new pitching coach.

The Red Sox also kept Gary Tuck, who will be entering his seventh straight season as Boston’s bullpen coach.

The Red Sox weeks ago made public their preference to have two hitting coaches.

Boston manager John Farrell said Wednesday via conference call that it is important to build a lineup with depth and quality hitters.

“And then (secondly), to not only give away at-bats but to work at-bats where there is a relentless approach that forces pitchers to respect them from the first pitch of the at-bat and for our hitters to have a disciplined zone that they’re not chasing pitches out of the strike zone,” Farrell said. “This is where Greg’s approach comes in: to maintain that consistency at-bat to at-bat to give us that end result — and that is quality at-bats that run pitchers’ pitch counts up to exploit the weak link in a pitching staff.”

Colbrunn said coaching major league hitters will be different from working with Single-A hitters.

“When you’re in A ball, you’re going through some mechanical adjustments, you’re going through work ethic, you’re trying to build a foundation so they can become good major league hitters,” Colbrunn said. “When you’re dealing with big leaguers, they’ve gone through that process. ... They have a real good idea of how to hit. A lot of it becomes more mental than it does physical. … When you get to the big leagues, a lot of it has to do with game plan and approach — how to attack a pitcher.”

Atchison becomes free agent

Left-handed reliever Rich Hill of Milton, right-handed reliever Scott Atchison and outfielder Ryan Sweeney were not tendered 2013 contracts and now are free agents.

Hill was not tendered a contract last offseason but later re-signed with Boston.

Atchison, 36, posted an impressive 1.58 ERA in 51.1 innings for Boston this past season but spent 55 games from the middle of July until mid-September on the disabled list with an ulnar collateral ligament tear. He opted not to undergo Tommy John surgery.

The Red Sox received Sweeney last offseason in the deal that sent Josh Reddick to Oakland. He played limited time in ‘12 because of injuries.