Pirates name Jay Bell new hitting coach

Justin K. Aller

The Pirates welcome back a popular former player.

The Pirates have hired former shortstop Jay Bell as their new hitting coach. They have also named Rick Sofield their new first-base coach, Dave Jauss an unspecified major-league coach, and former first-base coach Luis Silverio a Senior Advisor to Latin American Relations.

The big hire here, obviously, is Bell, who replaces Gregg Ritchie, who recently left to coach at George Washington University. We wrote about Bell here recently, after he looked back on his career in a long article on Deadspin.

I'm a little skeptical of the idea of hiring someone with a long history in the organization, since it seems like an attempt to placate a fanbase that's furious with the Bucs' front office right now. That said, it isn't as if Bell is obviously unqualified. He spent the 2012 season as a hitting coach at Mobile, the Diamondbacks' Class AA team, and he's also been a bench coach for the Diamondbacks.

Sofield had previously been the manager of the West Virginia Power. Jauss was a special assistant to Neal Huntington last year. He has served as a bench coach for the Mets, Orioles and Dodgers.

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