More than seven weeks after the end of their season, the Los Angeles Dodgers finally announced new manager Don Mattingly's coaching staff on Monday. The group, which includes six major league coaches, two additional hitting instructors and two bullpen catchers, also features four newcomers, the most notable of which is first-base coach Davey Lopes.
"It's a process we looked at very seriously from the people we brought in and getting the best quality people we could possibly get. I think for me, it was important with that quality that we be able to bring in people who have been with the Dodgers and know what it's all about here, who have been part of the organization. ... All that was very important to me, to bring in people who care about the organization from a historical standpoint but also want to see us get better at it right now," Mattingly said.
Lopes, who with first baseman Steve Garvey, third baseman Ron Cey and shortstop Bill Russell formed an infield that stayed together for a major league-record eight consecutive seasons with the Dodgers from 1974-81, became available last month after a contract impasse ended his four-year stint as the Philadelphia Phillies first-base coach. He will be donning a Dodgers uniform for the first time since he was traded to the Oakland A's on Feb. 8, 1982.
Lopes will be joined on the primary staff by bench coach Trey Hillman, hitting coach Jeff Pentland, third-base coach Tim Wallach, pitching coach Rick Honeycutt and bullpen coach Ken Howell. Pentland, Honeycutt and Howell are the only holdovers from former manager Joe Torre's staff, and Wallach was the Dodgers' Triple-A manager for the past two seasons.
Additionally, former Dodgers infielder and pinch-hitting specialist Dave Hansen joins the club as a secondary hitting instructor, along with longtime Dodgers fixture Manny Mota. Bullpen catchers Rob Flippo and Mike Borzello also will be returning.
"We're really happy to have this group here. In my tenure here, this has a chance to be the strongest group we have had," Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said. "It certainly has a historical point to it and a Dodger flavor to it. Some of these guys have been here through successful times and understand the culture that we're a part of here. ... This staff brings a lot of different experience to it and a lot of different areas of expertise, and it has a chance to be a very good, supportive staff for Donnie."
Lopes, 65, played for the Dodgers from the time he was a rookie in 1972 until he was traded, and primarily batted in the leadoff spot for them. He stole a career-high 77 bases for them in 1975, then stole 63 more for the Dodgers in '76. In 16 major leagues seasons, he had an 83 percent success rate as a base stealer.
Hillman, who will turn 48 on Jan. 4, had a 152-207 record in 2˝ seasons as manager of the Kansas City Royals, who fired him on May 13. Hillman also won a Japan Series championship while managing the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters in 2006.
Pentland, 64, has been with the Dodgers as a secondary hitting instructor since July 1, 2008, shortly after he was fired by the Seattle Mariners as their hitting coach. He previously had worked as a hitting coach for the Royals and Chicago Cubs. He now takes over Mattingly's former position as the Dodgers' primary hitting coach.
Wallach, 53, interviewed with the Milwaukee Brewers earlier this fall for their managerial vacancy and is considered one of the top managerial prospects in the majors. For now, though, he will return to the Dodgers coaching staff, where he served as hitting coach under former manager Jim Tracy from 2004-05. Wallach, a third baseman, played 17 seasons in the majors, ending his career with the Dodgers in 1996.
Wallach replaces Larry Bowa, who wasn't retained, as the Dodgers' third-base coach.
Honeycutt, 56, will remain in the same role he has filled since being named to former manager Grady Little's staff before the 2006 season. Before that, Honeycutt coached in the Dodgers' minor league system, and he was also a former major league pitcher who spent part of his career with the Dodgers.
Hansen, who will turn 42 on Wednesday, previously served as minor league hitting coordinator for the Arizona Diamondbacks. A second-round draft pick of the Dodgers in 1986 out of Rowland Heights High School, he spent 11 of his 15 major league seasons in Los Angeles as an infielder and pinch-hitting specialist.
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.