Red Sox finalize coaching staff for 2022 season, hire Luis Ortiz and Ben Rosenthal as assistant hitting coaches

The Red Sox have finalized their coaching staff for the 2022 season under manager Alex Cora, the club announced earlier Monday morning.

As was first reported by The Boston Herald’s Steve Hewitt in November, Peter Fatse has officially been named as the Sox’ new hitting coach while taking over for Tim Hyers.

Fatse, 34, originally joined Boston’s coaching staff as assistant hitting coach under Hyers in October 2019. After serving in that role for the last two seasons, the Hampden, Mass. native was promoted to become the club’s hitting coach in the wake of Hyers departing for the same role with the Rangers last month.

With Fatse moving up the ladder, the Red Sox added two new assistant hitting coaches to Cora’s staff in Luis Ortiz and Ben Rosenthal.

Ortiz, 51, is a former big-league third baseman who was drafted by Boston in 1991 and spent parts of two seasons with the club in 1993 and 1994. The Santo Domingo native served as Texas’ hitting coach for the last three seasons after spending the 2018 campaign as an assistant hitting coach with the Dodgers. He also has experience as a coordinator/instructor within the Rangers, Guardians, and Padres’ organizations.

Rosenthal, 42, went undrafted out of San Diego State University, but spent two seasons (2004-2005) in the Cardinals organization before calling it a playing career in 2006. From that point forward, the Arizona native served as an assistant coach at Bishop Gorman High School (Nev.) from 2011-2012, head coach of Mira Mesa High School (Calif.) in 2013, and as third base coach and hitting coach for Point Loma Nazarene University (Calif.) from 2014-16.

Since 2017, Rosenthal had been coaching in the Astros organization, most recently serving as the hitting coach for Houston’s Triple-A affiliate from 2019 through the end of the 2021 season.

In addition to this one promotion and two new hires, the Red Sox announced three more internal promotions. Ramon Vazquez has been named the club’s new first base coach, Andy Fox has been named major-league field coordinator, and Mike Brenly has been named major-league staff assistant.

Vazquez has been part of Cora’s staff since 2018 and will make the transition from quality control coach to first base coach after the Red Sox parted ways with Tom Goodwin in October. He will also coordinate the club’s base running instruction.

The 45-year-old should be familiar with that role since he became Boston’s first base coach during the 2021 postseason after Goodwin was forced to leave the team as a result of MLB protocols not granting on-field access to those who were not vaccinated against COVID-19.

Fox, who turns 51 next month, has been with the Red Sox for 11 years as the club’s minor-league infield coordinator (2011-2021) and assistant field coordinator (2019-21). He also worked with the major-league team during the later stages of the 2021 season.

Brenly, on the other hand, will assume the role of major-league staff assistant after spending the last six seasons as a bullpen catcher for the Red Sox.

Besides all these changes, the rest of Cora’s staff from the 2021 season will remain intact. Will Venable is back as bench coach, Dave Bush is back as pitching coach, Kevin Walker is back as bullpen coach, Carlos Febles is back as third base coach, and Jason Varitek will return as Boston’s game planning coordinator and catching coach.

“I feel fortunate to work with such a talented and diverse group of coaches,” Cora said in a statement released by the team. “In addition to Luis and Ben bringing fresh perspectives from outside of our organization, I am excited for the new opportunities presented to Pete, Ramón, and Mike. Andy has been a valuable member of the Red Sox for more than a decade, and I’m thrilled to welcome him to the major-league staff. I look forward to working with this group to achieve the ultimate goal of winning another World Series.”

(Picture of Alex Cora: Elsa/Getty Images)

Red Sox bench coach Will Venable interviews for Athletics’ managerial opening, per report

Red Sox bench coach Will Venable has recently interviewed for the Athletics’ managerial opening, according to The Athletic’s Britt Ghiroli and Ken Rosenthal.

Per Ghiroli and Rosenthal, Venable is one of six candidates Oakland has or are planning to interview alongside Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro, Astros bench coach Joe Espada and three internal options in Mark Kotsay, Marcus Jensen, and Darren Bush.

The Athletics are looking to fill their managerial vacancy after longtime skipper Bob Melvin left the organization to join the Padres in the same capacity in late October.

While Oakland’s list of potential candidates is wide-ranging, Venable does have an interesting case considering the fact that he grew up in nearly San Rafael, Calif. and has interviewed for other openings in the past.

A veteran of nine major-league seasons as an outfielder, Venable was originally named Alex Cora’s bench coach last November after three years as a base coach and bench coach with the Cubs.

As noted by MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, the 39-year-old talked with the Astros, Cubs, and Giants about their managerial openings at the conclusion of the 2019 season and was considered by both the Tigers and Red Sox last offseason.

Besides the A’s, the only other club looking to hire a manager at the moment are the Mets, who have apparently yet to reach out to Venable, per Cotillo.

If neither the Athletics nor Mets poach Venable away from the Red Sox, Cora’s coaching staff for the 2022 season will look very similar to the one he rolled out in 2021.

That being said, Cora’s coaching staff for 2022 has yet to be finalized, as Boston is still looking to fill two vacancies after first base coach Tom Goodwin was fired and hitting coach Tim Hyers left for the Rangers.

Pete Fatse, previously the assistant hitting coach under Hyers, is expected to be promoted to hitting coach. Who the Red Sox have in mind to take over as assistant hitting coach or first base coach has yet to be determined.

(Picture of Will Venable: Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Former Red Sox hitting coach Tim Hyers joining Rangers in same capacity, per report

Former Red Sox hitting coach Tim Hyers has joined the Rangers organization in the same capacity, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

Hyers, 50, departed from the Red Sox last week even after the team made an offer for him to return in 2022. The reasoning behind his departure mainly revolved around the idea of pursuing other opportunities, as he explained to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

Less than a full week after leaving the Sox, it turns out Hyers has indeed found a new opportunity for himself. And while he reportedly drew interest from the Yankees, he ultimately lands with the Rangers.

Hyers was originally named to Red Sox manager Alex Cora’s coaching staff in November 2017 after previously serving as the club’s minor-league hitting coordinator from 2013-2015.

Over the four seasons Hyers was put in charge of their offensive approach, the Sox led all of Major League Baseball in  runs per game (5.31), batting average (.266), slugging percentage (.455), and OPS (.790). They additionally ranked third in on-base percentage (.335) and fourth in wRC+ (108) over that stretch, per FanGraphs.

In between stints as Boston’s minor-league hitting coordinator and major-league hitting coach, Hyers served as an assistant hitting coach for the Dodgers from 2016-2017. At that same time, current Rangers manager Chris Woodward served as Los Angeles’ third base coach under Dave Roberts from 2016-2018.

Any sort of relationship Hyers and Woodward established with the Dodgers presumably played a role in the former joining the latter’s coaching staff with the Rangers.

While Boston’s offense enjoyed plenty of success under Hyers in 2021, the same cannot be said for Texas, who finished the season with a record of 60-102 while regularly fielding unproductive lineups.

In the process of finishing with one of the worst records in baseball, the Rangers ranked 28th in the league in runs per game (3.86), 29th in batting average (.232), 30th in on-base percentage (.294), 28th in slugging percentage (.375) and dead last in OPS (.670). They ultimately dismissed their former hitting coach Luis Ortiz last month.

By hiring Hyers, the Rangers will obviously be hoping to have a revamped offense in 2022. The Red Sox, meanwhile, are expected to promote Peter Fatse, who served as assistant hitting coach under Hyers each of the last two seasons, to become the team’s new hitting coach.

Fatse, 34, is a native of Hampden, Mass. and played his college baseball at the University of Connecticut before being selected by the Brewers in the 24th round of the 2009 amateur draft.

(Picture of Tim Hyers: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox expected to promote Peter Fatse to become team’s new hitting coach

Red Sox assistant hitting coach is expected to replace Tim Hyers as the team’s new hitting coach, according to The Boston Herald’s Steve Hewitt.

Per Hewitt, the Sox will promote Fatse to the role of hitting coach after Hyers informed the club that he would not be returning to Alex Cora’s coaching staff for the 2022 season.

The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier first reported on Hyers’ departure on Monday morning, citing that the 50-year-old “plans to pursue other opportunities, possibly college openings, but more likely with another team, perhaps including a broader role in another organization.”

Along with Hyers, the Red Sox announced last week that they had parted ways with first base coach and outfield instructor Tom Goodwin.

Fatse, meanwhile will become Boston’s hitting coach after spending the previous two seasons as the team’s assistant hitting coach under Hyers.

The 34-year-old out of Hampden, Mass. was originally named to Cora’s coaching staff in October 2019 to replace former assistant hitting coach Andy Barkett.

A product of the University of Connecticut, where he was teammates with future All-Stars such as Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes and Blue Jays outfielder George Springer, Fatse was selected by the Brewers in the 24th round of the 2009 amateur draft.

Listed at 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds at the time, the left-handed hitting infielder/outfielder played two seasons in the Brewers organization and two additional seasons of independent league baseball before calling it a career in 2012.

Two years prior to retiring, Fatse — a graduate of Minnechaug Regional High School who resides in Wilbraham, Mass. — founded the Advanced Performance Academy in Palmer, Mass. in 2010. He additionally served as the academy’s director of player development before joining the Minnesota Twins as their minor-league hitting coordinator in January 2019.

After overseeing Minnesota’s farm system throughout the 2019 season, Fatse was officially added to Cora’s coaching staff as assistant hitting coach on Oct. 31 of that year.

As noted by Speier, Hyers and Fatse developed a strong working relationship while overseeing one of the more potent offenses in all of baseball. There were even discussions between Hyers and the Sox to elevate Fatse to co-hitting coach before the former announced that he would be leaving.

That being said, Speier took to Twitter earlier Monday to note that while “Fatse is expected to be promoted,… the precise approach to the hitting coach roles is still being worked out by the Sox.”

Those details, as well as who could serve as Boston’s new assistant hitting coach under Fatse, will likely be revealed once the Red Sox make the promotion official, though it is not yet known when that will take place.

(Picture of Peter Fatse: Billie Weiss/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Tim Hyers not returning as Red Sox hitting coach next season

Red Sox hitting coach Tim Hyers will not be returning to manager Alex Cora’s coaching staff for the 2022 season, according to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

Per Speier, Hyers “declined the team’s offer to return” for 2022 and instead “plans to pursue other opportunities – possibly including college openings, but more likely with another team, perhaps including a broader role in another organization.”

Hyers, who turned 50 last month, was initially named Boston’s hitting coach in November 2017 after previously serving as the team’s minor-league hitting coordinator from 2013-2015 and as an assistant hitting coach with the Dodgers from 2016-2017.

In the four seasons Hyers was in command of the club’s offensive approach, the Red Sox — as noted by Speier — led all of Major League Baseball in runs per game (5.31), batting average (.266), slugging percentage (.455), and OPS .790. They also ranked third in on-base percentage (.335) and fourth in wRC+ (108) over that stretch, per FanGraphs.

With Hyers opting not to return to Boston next year, the Red Sox will now have another vacancy to fill on Cora’s 2022 coaching staff after the club parted ways with first base coach and outfield instructor Tom Goodwin last week.

That said, the Sox still expect to retain the rest of their coaching staff going into next season, and that includes assistant hitting coach Peter Fatse.

Fatse, a native of Hampden, Mass., was named Boston’s assistant hitting coach under Hyers at the conclusion of the 2019 season. Together, the two not only oversaw one of the American League’s most potent offenses the last two years, but they also developed a strong working relationship.

On that note, Speier reports that Hyers and the Red Sox had been discussing the idea of elevating Fatse to the role of co-hitting coach, so it should be interesting to see how much consideration the 34-year-old gets from the team to take over for Hyers fully.

UPDATE: The Boston Herald’s Steve Hewitt is reporting that Fatse has indeed been promoted by the Red Sox to become the team’s new hitting coach in place of Hyers.

(Picture of Tim Hyers: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox part ways with first base coach Tom Goodwin

The Red Sox will not be bringing first base coach Tom Goodwin for the 2022 season, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom announced from Fenway Park on Monday afternoon.

Goodwin, 53, had served as Boston’s first base coach shortly after Alex Cora was first named manager of the Red Sox in October 2017.

In addition to his first base coaching responsibilities, Goodwin also served as the club’s outfield instructor and base running coordinator in his four seasons with the organization.

This past season, Goodwin — who is not vaccinated against COVID-19 — was forced to miss time on two separate occasions after being identified as a close contact of someone who tested positive for the virus.

On account of his unvaccinated status, Goodwin was not eligible to coach in the postseason since Major League Baseball was only granting on-field access to non-playing personnel (managers, coaches, athletic trainers, etc.) who were vaccinated.

And so in late September, quality control coach Ramon Vazquez took over as Boston’s first base coach for the rest of the year. Goodwin, on the other hand, remained in the Red Sox dugout and provided instruction to the club’s outfielders until the regular season came to a close.

When speaking with reporters during an end-of-season press conference on Monday, Bloom clarified that the decision to part ways with Goodwin had nothing to do with his vaccination status and was instead baseball-related.

“He helped bring this organization and this city a championship,” Bloom said. “It doesn’t take anything away from that.”

With Goodwin’s dismissal, the Red Sox now have an opening at first base coach. It’s unclear at the moment who will fill that vacancy, though Bloom did indicate that the rest of Cora’s coaching staff is expected to remain intact through the winter and return next spring.

“Obviously, it’s early,” said Bloom. “We haven’t put pen to paper with everybody who we need to. But the intent is that everybody else will be back.”

(Picture of Tom Goodwin: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox quality control coach Ramón Vázquez taking over as team’s first base coach due to Tom Goodwin’s unvaccinated status

Red Sox quality control coach Ramon Vazquez will take over as the team’s first base coach for the remainder of the regular season after coaching there on Tuesday, manager Alex Cora said before Wednesday’s game against the Orioles at Camden Yards in Baltimore.

Tom Goodwin, who has primarily handled first base coaching responsibilities this season, is not vaccinated against COVID-19, meaning he would not be allowed on the field in the postseason on account of Major League Baseball’s vaccine mandate for non-playing personnel.

Vazquez had previously filled in for Goodwin over the summer when the latter was forced to quarantine in Toronto after being identified as a close contact of bench coach Will Venable, who — despite being vaccinated — tested positive for COVID-19 in August.

Earlier this month, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported that Major League Baseball “will require managers, coaches, athletic trainers and other non-playing personnel to get the COVID-19 vaccine in order to gain access to the field and other restricted areas in the postseason.”

When speaking with reporters prior to Wednesday’s contest with the Orioles, Cora told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith) that Goodwin is the only member of the Red Sox coaching staff who has yet to receive at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We have to prepare for the postseason, if we get there,” Cora said. “Obviously MLB, they mandated or they decided that the staff has to be vaccinated. As you guys know, Goody is not. So we’ve got Goody on the bench and working with the outfielders. And Ramon will be coaching first the rest of the season.”

As indicated by Cora, Goodwin will remain with the Sox for the remainder of their road trip while still providing instruction to the club’s outfielders, as he has since the start of the 2018 season.

Vazquez, on the other hand, has also been a member of Boston’s coaching staff for the last four seasons. In addition to coaching first base and working with the team’s infielders, he also “serves as a liaison between the major-league club’s advance scouting and statistical analysis efforts for the purpose of presenting information to players and coaches,” per the Red Sox media guide.

(Picture of Alex Verdugo and Ramon Vazquez: Cole Burston/Getty Images)

New Podding the Red Sox episode: Red Sox minor-league coach Chris Hess joins the show

On this week’s installment of Podding the Red Sox: A BloggingtheRedSox.com Podcast, I am joined by one of the Red Sox’ newest minor-league coaches in Chris Hess.

Among the topics Hess and I discussed were his college career at the University of Rhode Island, how he found out he got drafted in 2017, his professional career with the Yankees, what led him to join the Red Sox as a minor-league coach, what it will be like to work with Bianca Smith, and much more.

The episode is available to listen to on iTunes and Spotify, among other platforms.

Thanks to Chris for taking some time out of his Thursday night to have a conversation with me. You can check out his 401 Elite Baseball Training program by clicking here.

Thank you for listening and we will see you next time! Please make sure to subscribe and leave a five-star review if you can!

(Picture of Chris Hess: Rhody Rampage)

Red Sox promote Ben Crockett to senior vice president of baseball operations, Brian Abraham to director of player development in slew of personnel moves

The Red Sox announced several major- and minor-league personnel moves on Friday afternoon, highlighted by Ben Crockett being promoted to the club’s senior vice president of baseball operations and Brian Abraham being promoted to the club’s director of player development.

Crockett, 41, previously served as Boston’s vice president of player development from 2016-2020 and has been with the organization since 2007 after interning in their baseball operations department.

His promotion to SVP of baseball ops. comes a few weeks after longtime Red Sox executive Zack Scott left the organization to become assistant general manager of the New York Mets.

Scott has since been named New York’s acting general manager after the club fired Jared Porter on January 19 for harassing a female reporter in 2016.

Crockett, a Topsfield, Mass. native, played college baseball at Harvard University, and emerged as a legitimate right-handed pitching prospect there as evidenced by him getting drafted twice.

The first time around, Crockett — a junior — was selected by the Red Sox in the 10th round of the 2001 amateur draft. He did not sign with his hometown team.

The second time around, Crockett — now a senior — was selected by the Rockies in the third round of the 2002 amateur draft. He went on to sign with Colorado and spend five years in their minor-league system.

Since calling it a playing career, Crockett has undertaken a variety of roles within the Red Sox’ scouting and player development machine. From 2008-2009, he served as an advance scouting coordinator; from 2010-2011, he served as assistant director of player development; and from 2012-2016, he served as director of player development.

That role has now been taken over by Abraham, who, like Crockett, attended a local school in the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester.

The 36-year-old was born and raised in Worcester, too, and he got his start in professional baseball by spending six years in the Blue Jays’ organization “primarily working in advance scouting and video operations” from 2007-2012.

With Boston, Abraham has worked as a major-league staff assistant (2013-2014), assistant director of player development (2015-2018), and most recently director of minor-league operations (2018-2020).

In addition to the promotions of Crockett and Abraham, the Red Sox also announced that Chris Stasio has been promoted to the role of manager of baseball development, Shawn Haviland has been promoted to the role of senior pitching coordinator, Kirby Retzer has been promoted to the role of assistant strength and conditioning coordinator, Paddy Steinfort has been promoted to the role of senior mental skills coordinator and Adan Severino has been promoted to the role of Latin American mental skills coordinator.

In terms of new additions, Harry Roberson has been hired as the club’s coordinator of player development, Julio Rangel has been hired as the club’s performance pitching coordinator, and Gabriela Alfonso has been hired as the organization’s minor-league sports dietician.

Minor-league coaching staffs finalized:

The Red Sox’ pipeline of minor-league affiliates will be without the Lowell Spinners for this coming season, while Worcester is now the new home of the club’s Triple-A affiliate and the teams in Greenville, SC. and Salem, Va. have essentially switched places.

With that, here is how each affiliate’s coaching staff will stack up to start the new season:

Triple-A Worcester Red Sox
Manager: Billy McMillon
Additional Coach: Bruce Crabbe
Pitching Coach: Paul Abbott
Hitting Coach: Rich Gedman

Double-A Portland Sea Dogs
Manager: Corey Wimberly
Additional Coach: Ako Thomas
Pitching Coach: Lance Carter
Hitting Coach: Lance Zawadzki

High-A Greenville Drive
Manager: Iggy Suarez
Additional Coach: John Shelby III
Pitching Coach: Bob Kipper
Hitting Coach: Nate Spears

Low-A Salem Red Sox
Manager: Luke Montz
Additional Coach: Frankie Rios
Pitching Coach: Nick Green
Hitting Coach: Nelson Paulino

Fort Myers Complex
Manager: Tom Kotchman
Additional Coaches: Mickey Jiang, Bianca Smith, Chris Hess
Pitching Coaches: Dick Such, Brett Merritt, Jason Blanton
Hitting Coaches: Josh Prince, Junior Zamora

Dominican Republic Academy
Latin American Field Coordinator: Jose Zapata
Managers: Ozzie Chavez, Sandy Madera
Additional Coaches: Juan Hernandez, Claudio Sanchez, Carlos Vallejo, Leonel Vazquez
International Instructor: Amaury Garcia
Pitching Coaches: Oscar Lira, Humberto Sanchez
Hitting Coaches: Eider Torres, Danny Ortega

For more information on the Red Sox’ minor-league coaching staffs, check out this press release from the team.

(Picture of Red Sox logo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Red Sox make Bianca Smith hiring official, making her first Black woman to coach in history of professional baseball

In case you missed it, the Red Sox officially announced their hiring of Bianca Smith as a minor-league coach on Monday.

Smith, 29, becomes the first Black woman to coach in the history of professional baseball, which goes back to 1869.

“The opportunity is amazing,” Smith told MLB Network’s Matt Vasgersian and Harold Reynolds on Monday’s installment of Hot Stove. “I’m still wrapping my head around it. I probably won’t have it really sink in until I’m actually there.

“But, I think it’s a great opportunity also to inspire other women who are interested in this game,” she added. “This is not really something I thought about when I was younger, and I kind of fell into it being an athlete. So I’m excited to get that chance to show what I can do.”

Prior to signing on with the Red Sox, Smith played college softball at Dartmouth College from 2011-2012. She also has experience as director of baseball operations and a graduate assistant at Case Western Reserve from 2013-2017 as well as an assistant hitting coach at the University of Dallas in 2018.

Currently, Smith operates as an assistant baseball coach and hitting coordinator for Carroll University (Wisc.). She will remain in that role for the next few weeks before joining the Red Sox.

“Preparing for the season, I’m doing exactly what I’ve been doing for the last several years,” she said. “Just continue to keep learning, continue to keep researching. Doing as much as I can. I’ve still got several weeks here at Carroll, so I get to work with my players here. So that will be great preparation. I’m going to be nonstop coaching for about the next seven or eight weeks before I get started with the Red Sox.”

In her role with Boston, Smith will primarily work with minor-league position players at the club’s player development facility in Fort Myers.

The Pennsylvania native does also have prior experience working within major-league organizations, interning for both the Cincinnati Reds and Texas Rangers’ baseball operations departments in recent years.

“She was a great candidate coming in,” Red Sox vice president of player development Ben Crockett said of Smith. “She’s had some really interesting experiences and has been passionate about growing her skill set and development herself… It’s a meaningful, meaningful thing for the organization.”

According to MLB.com’s Ian Browne, the Red Sox are expected to introduce Smith to the media via Zoom conference sometime this week.

The Boston Globe’s Julian McWilliams was the first to report last week that the Red Sox were hiring Smith as a minor-league coach.

Information from MLB.com, MLB Network, and The Boston Globe was used in this article.