Former Red Sox hitting coach Tim Hyers explains why he left to take same job with Rangers; ‘It was a new challenge for me’

Back in November, hitting coach Tim Hyers left his post with the Red Sox to join the Texas Rangers in the same capacity. Considering the amount of success the Boston lineup enjoyed under Hyers the previous four seasons, it was deemed a surprising move.

With the Red Sox set to open a three-game weekend series against the Rangers in Arlington on Friday, Hyers will have the chance to reconnect with former colleagues on Alex Cora’s coaching staff who he still keeps in touch with now.

On Thursday, Hyers spoke with MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith from Globe Life Field about what specifically led him to leave the Red Sox for the Rangers. He emphasized that it was his decision alone and was not financially-motivated.

“It was a new challenge for me,” Hyers said. “Maybe they needed a new voice. Maybe. Maybe I needed a new scenery, a new environment to keep moving. I had all the confidence in the world with Pete [Fatse]. They’re going to be in great hands. So if there was a time for me to walk away, it was the time. And it was probably a little bit better for my family. My wife’s job moving back and forth here in Texas. So it’s probably a little easier on the family.”

Hyers’ wife, Kristin, works at at Georgia Transmission Corporation in Tucker, Ga., which is obviously closer to Arlington than it is Boston.

The Red Sox, Hyers explained “did everything” to bring him back and “were very generous in doing so.

“It was very open,” he said. “It was my call. And I’m the one who walked away.”

Before officially joining the Rangers’ coaching staff under Chris Woodward, Hyers interviewed with the Yankees, who also had an opening at hitting coach. He said that while he was flattered by having the opportunity to speak with the Yankees, he believed the Rangers were the better fit and opted to sign on there.

In Hyers’ final season as hitting coach in Boston in 2021, the Red Sox batted .261/.328/.449 (107 wRC+) as a team while averaging more than 5.1 runs per game. 2021 was also the second year in which Hyers had assistant hitting coach Pete Fatse working under him. The two had a strong relationship which led Hyers to believe Fatse was ready to take over for him beginning in 2022.

“If there was a time for a new voice and kind of moving forward, Pete was the guy,” said Hyers. “He had been there for two years. He had heard my language. He had heard if things were flowing. So if it was best for me and my family to walk and to do something else, they were in great hands.”

The Red Sox, as noted by Smith, hired Luis Ortiz and Ben Rosenthal to serve as assistant hitting coaches under Fatse.

“When Pete came around, it was like, man, I kind of found my brother in this game,” Hyers said. “We saw the swing and we saw a lot of how the offense should work, we saw it very similar. And obviously I’ve got a few more years ahead of him. I’m older. But that’s the way I felt. So when I say maybe a new voice, maybe that’s the time when, ‘Hey, he’s really good and maybe it’s best for me to go do something else.’”

Under Fatse, who is now a first-year hitting coach, the Red Sox offense has struggled mightily. They come into play Friday having scored 107 runs, the third-worst mark in the majors, while hitting a meager .229/.285/.345 (83 wRC+) as a team so far this season.

Despite those struggles, Hyers still feels as though the Sox are in good hands with Fatse as their hitting coach, noting that offense as a whole is down around the league this year.

“Pete is really smart,” Hyers said. “He’s a great hitting coach. I have all the confidence in the world in Pete. He made me a better hitting coach being a partner with him and co-worker. He’s really, really good. I’m sure him being the head guy, there’s things he’s going to have to learn and things you don’t see until you walk in those shoes. Adjustments to make. To me, it’s brand new every year. You have to maneuver how you want to help each hitter and how you want to help this team. And what’s the makeup of your team? When they go through slumps, how do you help them? Is it push or back off? What do you do?”

Hyers also cited the shortened spring training that came as a result of the lockout having an impact on new hitting coaches such as Fatse and even himself.

“It’s kind of like me here,” Hyers said. “You’re getting to know your players. You’re getting to know how they react to things.”

“Overall, hitting is down this year,” he added. “There’s a few clubs tearing it up. But for the most part, there’s a lot of clubs that are trying to find their footing here early in the season. I think pitching has put it to us offensively. No excuses, but I do feel that kind of the late start, maybe some of the hitters didn’t get their footing, their timing like they are usually accustomed to. And that could play a part in it.”

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

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)

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 make Will Venable hiring official, announce other coaching staff changes for 2021

Red Sox manager Alex Cora’s coaching staff for the upcoming 2021 season is now set.

While pitching coach Dave Bush, hitting coach Tim Hyers, assistant hitting coach Peter Fatse, first base coach Tom Goodwin, and third base coach Carlos Febles will retain the same roles they held this past season, changes have been made in other areas.

For starters, Will Venable has officially been named Red Sox bench coach after it was reported on Tuesday that he was going to get the job.

The former big-league outfielder had spent the previous three seasons as a first and third base coach with the Cubs, and he was one of several candidates who interviewed for Boston’s managerial opening last month.

That vacancy was ultimately filled by Cora, but the 38-year-old Venable now has the chance to strengthen his resume as a bench coach for the first time in his coaching career.

“Will is a bright, young mind that will add a lot to what is already a strong collection of coaches,” Cora said of Venable in a statement released by the team earlier Friday.

With Venable succeeding Jerry Narron, who succeeded Ron Roenicke, as bench coach, the Red Sox also named Jason Varitek as the club’s new game-planning coordinator.

For the past eight years, Varitek had been working for the Red Sox in a special assistant/catching coach capacity. He, like new quality control coach/interpreter Ramon Vazquez, will now step into more significant roles within the organization moving forward.

“I am also pleased that both Jason and Ramón will step forward and play larger roles for us,” Cora added.

Finally, Kevin Walker, who was named assistant pitching coach under Bush last October, has been named the Sox’ new bullpen coach. That position opened up when Craig Bjornson was let go by the club last month.

With his promotion, it would appear that the Red Sox could be in need of a new assistant pitching coach to take over for Walker unless they otherwise choose not to carry one next year.

That being said, Cora seems pleased with his new-look coaching staff as he prepares to embark on his second stint as Red Sox skipper.

“I am thrilled to have so many great baseball minds on our staff,” he said, “and I look forward to their contributions as we set out to achieve our goals.”

Red Sox’ Alex Verdugo: ‘Whenever the Season Starts I Think I Will Be Ready’

Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo is back working out at the Fenway South complex in Fort Myers, and when the 2020 Major League Baseball season does resume, he feels like he’ll be good to go.

Speaking with reporters via conference call on Monday afternoon for the first time since spring training was suspended in March, Verdugo said he is “physically…100%” after fully recovering from the stress fracture in his lower back.

“I feel very good just moving around with everything,” said the 23-year-old. “My swing, my throwing, running. I feel really good. The complex shut down for three weeks when the whole coronavirus and all that started coming out. So I still stayed active at home. I was hitting, throwing a little bit and working out. But obviously didn’t have the amount of resources I do at the facility.”

Here’s some video of Verdugo working out at home in Fort Myers:

From there, Verdugo was able to get back into the facility last week after the Red Sox opened it back up following a brief shutdown period due to a minor-leaguer testing positive for COVID-19 on March 24th.

“When I got back…we took it slow again,” he said. “We just kind of ramped it back up, just seeing how the three weeks, how my body kind of looked and how it felt to my trainers.”

Here’s some video of Verdugo working out at the JetBlue Park complex:

When the Red Sox acquired Verdugo, as well as prospects Jeter Downs and Connor Wong, from the Dodgers in the Mookie Betts and David Price trade in February, they were already aware of the young outfielder’s ailment. Had the 2020 season began as originally planned on March 26th, he probably would not have been ready for Opening Day.

Now, with the start date of the season still up in the air, Verdugo could be ready to start right away.

“I feel like we’re back on track,” he said. “Whenever the season starts, I think I’ll be ready. Whether that is soon, whether it’s a few months down the road or whatever that may be. I think physically I’m ready.”

While he is training every day like there is going to be a season and working out Fenway South four times a week, Verdugo is regularly checking in with Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke “every one or two weeks.” The training staff he is working with at JetBlue is also sending video to Roenicke and hitting coach Tim Hyers.

“I’m going to keep preparing and training and keeping my mind sharp so I’m already mentally locked in and physically ready to go for it,” said Verdugo.

As he came over from the Dodgers earlier in the year, the Arizona native admitted that being traded was at first difficult for him but he now views the move “as a blessing.”

With his new club, Verdugo expects to be as productive as ever, adding “I think I’m at such a good position mentally and physically. I’m just ready to go and just play. I know if I play and I feel the way I feel right now, my numbers will be what they always have been.”

Once touted as one of the best outfield prospects in baseball, Verdugo slashed .294/.342/.475 with 12 home runs and 44 RBI over 106 games played for Los Angeles in 2019.

The centerpiece in the aforementioned deal that sent soon-to-be free agent Mookie Betts to southern California, Verdugo did say that it would be “pretty crazy” and “pretty nuts” if his counterpart never played a game for the Dodgers if the 2020 season winds up getting cancelled. We’ll have to wait and see on that, though.