Pirates promote Jeff Branson to hitting coach

The Pirates have hired Jeff Branson as hitting coach and added

Jeff Livesey to the major league coaching staff.

Branson replaces Jay Bell, who left the organization last week

to take a job with the Cincinnati Reds. Branson worked with Bell

last season to implement the team’s hitting program. The Pirates

won 94 games to make the playoffs for the first time in 21 years

but struggled offensively. Pittsburgh hit just .245 on the season

and finished in the bottom half of the NL in several offensive


Branson played nine seasons in the majors between Cincinnati,

Cleveland and the Los Angeles Dodgers before retiring in 2001.

Livesey spent the last three years as Pittsburgh’s minor league

hitting coordinator.