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Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.
By Bob Sherwin
Don Baylor, the former Chicago Cubs and Colorado Rockies manager, has been named batting coach under new Mariners skipper Mike Hargrove.
Baylor, 55, had spent the past two seasons as the bench coach for the New York Mets under manager Art Howe. Baylor was among the managerial candidates in Houston when the Astros fired Jimy Williams at midseason. But the club went with Phil Garner instead.
After Baylor was cut loose by the Mets, Houston owner Drayton McLane wanted to bring Baylor in as the Astros' batting coach next season. But he accepted Hargrove's invitation this week. Baylor replaces Paul Molitor, who spent just one season with the Mariners.
"Don has had great success as a player, coach and manager," Hargrove said in a statement. "His strong work ethic, leadership and ability to communicate well with players will prove very valuable as we shape the 2005 Mariners."
Baylor was the first manager in Rockies history, and he stayed in Denver for six seasons (1993-98). He was voted National League Manager of the Year in 1995. His Rockies teams led the NL in batting four times, and, in 1996, became the first team in major-league history to hit more than 200 home runs and steal more than 200 bases in one season. He managed the Cubs from Nov. 1, 1999, to July 5, 2002.
The Mariners are the fourth club for which he has served as hitting coach. He had a two-year stint with the Milwaukee Brewers (1990-91) and served in that capacity for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1992 before moving to Colorado. In 1999, he was the batting coach for the Atlanta Braves.
Baylor had a 19-year major-league career (1970-88) with six American League teams: the Baltimore Orioles, Oakland Athletics, California Angels, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins. He went to the postseason seven times as a player and helped the Twins win the 1987 World Series. He played in 2,292 games, had a .260 average with 338 home runs, 1,276 runs batted in and 285 stolen bases. He holds the major-league record for times hit by pitches (267).
In 1979, Baylor was the AL MVP after hitting .296 with 36 home runs, 139 RBI and 120 runs for the Angels.
Baylor is the fourth member of Hargrove's staff. Hargrove retained pitching coach Bryan Price, who still had one year on his contract. Hargrove also named Ron Hassey his bench coach and hired Jim Slaton, former Rainiers pitching coach, as bullpen coach.
Only the first-base and third-base coaching positions remain. It is believed that minor-league managers Dan Rohn (Class AAA Tacoma) and Dave Brundage (Class AA San Antonio), and Mike Goff, the Mariners' coordinator of minor-league instruction, are being considered. The club has been given permission to talk to Frank White, the Royals' Class AA manager, for the third-base coaching position.
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