McClendon fills out Seattle's coaching staff
Lloyd McClendon is bringing an entirely new coaching staff to Seattle, although a number of his additions have ties to the Mariners organization.
McClendon announced his coaching staff on Monday, with only two of his hires coming from outside of the club. Instead, McClendon is promoting a number of coaches from the minors and still holding out the possibility that one coach may return from the previous staff under Eric Wedge but in a different role.
''Obviously, there is some advantage to having some guys from within the organization,'' McClendon said. ''If you have the opportunity to promote from within, No. 1 it's healthy for the organization, and No. 2 if those guys are qualified individuals it becomes an A-plus. ... All those guys fit that bill.''
Howard Johnson, the former New York Mets third baseman, will take over as Seattle's hitting coach after serving in that role for the organization at Triple-A Tacoma last season. He'll replace Dave Hansen who was with the club for only one season but may return as Johnson's assistant.
Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik said Hansen has an offer to return as the club's assistant hitting coach if he does not find another major league job.
Rick Waits will move from minor league pitching coordinator to Seattle's pitching coach, while John Stearns will be the third-base coach and Chris Woodward will be the infield coach. Stearns finished the 2013 season as Tacoma's manager after Daren Brown was added to the major league staff, while Woodward was a roving minor-league infield coordinator.
McClendon said he was impressed by Waits and his view of how a pitching staff should be handled.
''He really blew me away from the interview process,'' McClendon said. ''(He) represented everything I wanted in a pitching coach.''
McClendon is bringing in Andy Van Slyke (first-base coach) and Mike Rojas (bullpen coach) from outside the organization. Van Slyke has been out of coaching since 2009 when he left the staff in Detroit, where he worked with McClendon. He reached out to McClendon to express his interest in returning to coaching in Seattle.
''He was excited for the opportunity to coach with me again,'' McClendon said. ''Andy Is probably the most impressive practice coach I have ever been around.''
McClendon previously announced that Trent Jewett will serve as his bench coach. The team said that bullpen catcher Jason Phillips and Scott Budner (left-handed batting practice pitcher) would return, and Zduriencik said if Brown does not find another major league job he has already signed a contract for a minor league position in the Mariners organization.