Red Sox tab Colbrunn as hitting coach

Red Sox tab Colbrunn as hitting coach

BOSTON -- The Red Sox filled their void at hitting coach on Wednesday, hiring former Major Leaguer Greg Colbrunn, who won a World Series with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001.

After spending six years as a hitting coach in the Yankees' farm system, Colbrunn moves to Boston, where he will be on a Major League staff for the first time.

"I've had a couple opportunities in the past to move up or do something different here in Charleston, but nothing ever really sounded too good or anything until this offseason," said Colbrunn. "And then this situation came up, this opportunity came up. After going through the interview process and my wife being from Connecticut and all that, it's a great opportunity."

What made Colbrunn the top choice after an extensive search?

"As we've done with every position on the staff, we looked to find people that had great communication skills, that had a very solid personal experience level to tap into," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "And the more we did our homework, it became clear that he was a strong candidate. As we went through the interview process, it became very clear that not only does he have a wealth of knowledge as far as hitting goes, but the ability to relate in that interview process -- we felt like that would certainly carry over to dealing with our hitters.

"His fundamental approach to hitting is aligned with what we value. All things considered, this became a very clear choice as we went through that process."

After spending the last several years working with Class A hitters, Colbrunn will work with established stars like Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz.

"With big leaguers, they've gone through that process," said Colbrunn. "They've gotten their 1,000 repetitions and they have a real good idea how to hit. A lot of it becomes more mental than it is physical."

The Red Sox, even before hiring Colbrunn, said they planned on going with a system featuring two hitting coaches. That is still the case, as Farrell confirmed the club is still in the hunt for an assistant hitting coach. Victor Rodriguez, who has been in Boston's organization for years at the Minor League level, is a top candidate.

"It's something that we're definitely not only interested in the concept [of] but also looking to put in place," said Farrell. "I think the most important [factor] when you consider an assistant hitting coach is they've got to be aligned in their overall thoughts as far as hitting goes. We can't have conflicting messages to the individuals. And once that rapport is built with those two staff members, now it gives the ability to have that trust."

In his 13-year playing career, Colbrunn reached the postseason five times. A California native, he was selected by the Expos in the sixth round of the 1987 First-Year Player Draft.

Colbrunn had a solid 992-game career for the Expos, Marlins, Twins, Braves, Rockies, D-backs and Mariners from 1992-2004, hitting .289 with 155 doubles, 12 triples, 98 homers, 422 RBIs and 337 runs.

It is fair to describe Colbrunn as a big-game player, considering he produced a .344 average in 21 postseason games.

Colbrunn, 46, becomes the latest addition to a coaching staff that has been overhauled since Farrell was hired as manager. Torey Lovullo was named bench coach, and Juan Nieves is the new pitching coach. Brian Butterfield was hired to be the third-base coach, with Arnie Beyeler selected as the first-base coach.

Gary Tuck, the bullpen coach/catching instructor, is the one holdover from former manager Bobby Valentine's staff. Colbrunn succeeds Dave Magadan, who moved on to the Rangers after spending six seasons as Boston's hitting coach.

"We're very happy, largely in part not only because of the experiences that each have individually but the people that they are," said Farrell. "I thought it was important to have characteristics that each possess. I can say, to a man, that they do -- that the players' well-being, their career, that's at the forefront of everybody's mind. It's not about the coach; it's about the player."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.