By Shannon Drayer
The Mariners have ended their search for a hitting coach with the announcement this morning that they have hired Dave Hansen for the position. If the name sounds familiar, it should as he played for the Mariners in 2004 and 2005.
Hansen returns to Seattle after serving as hitting coach for the Dodgers last year. Before that he spent four seasons in the Diamondbacks' minor league system. He was the minor league hitting coordinator for three seasons (2008-2010) after beginning his professional coaching career in 2007 as the hitting coach at Double-A Mobile.
Hansen was known as one of the top pinch hitters when he played. He set a Major League record with seven pinch-hit homers in 2000. He also holds the Dodgers record for most pinch hits in a season (18 in 1993) and a career (110).
"I had the chance to talk to Dave several times, and have also talked to players and coaches he's worked with, and we feel he is a great fit for our club," general manager Jack Zduriencik said in the press release.
Covering Hansen years ago when he was with the team, he struck me and others as someone who would go on to be a good coach some day. He understood and spoke hitting and shared that with others, veterans and youngsters alike, from Raul Ibanez to Greg Dobbs. Although he was a vet on those teams you would see him relate well to the younger players, too.
A little bit off track here but you may remember hearing about a good number of Mariners traveling with guitars years ago. Hansen was somewhat responsible for this as he is an excellent guitarist and would give lessons on the road. I suspect we will see more than the one guitar we saw this year moving forward.
I will have more later after we have a chance to talk with Hansen and Zduriencik.