Diamondbacks to replace Mike Harkey as pitching coach

Mike Harkey spent two seasons as the Diamondbacks pitching coach.

Mark J. Rebilas/Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

PHOENIX — The Diamondbacks on Monday announced pitching coach Mike Harkey will not return for the 2016 season.

Harkey was let go a day after the D-backs pitching staff finished ninth in the National League in team ERA and third in home runs allowed.

Harkey served as pitching coach for two seasons.

"It’s not a question of what Mike didn’t do. I think he’s a qualified pitching coach," Tony La Russ, D-backs chief baseball officer, said. "It’s just that when we looked at the direction we want to go from here, we thought there is a better fit."

The rest of manager Chip Hale’s staff — Turner Ward, Glenn Sherlock, Dave McKay, Mark Grace, Mel Stottlemyre Jr., Andy Green and Ariel Prieto — were offered contracts for 2016.

"It’s the most difficult I’ve been though in this position now," Hale said of delivering the news to Harkey. "He’s a great guy with great heart who helped me a lot with different things. It’s just when one part of your team struggles a little bit, a lot of times you have to make changes. We felt like a new voice in that spot was needed."

La Russa said no determination has been made on Harkey’s replacement. Stottlemyre, the team’s bullpen coach, is under consideration.

"He’s on the list we’re beginning to put together," La Russa said.

Pitching consultant Dave Duncan and Hale both will be part of the selection process for the next pitching coach. Duncan was a major league pitching coach for 32 years, many on La Russa’s staffs.

"I said, ‘Well, you know you could come back.’" La Russa said of a recent conversation with Duncan. "He said, ‘yes,’ but that’s not what he was saying yes to. I had my heart stop for a little bit. That’s the truth.

But he’s satisfied with what he’s doing."