The Angelic Mariners

Angels minor league field coordinator Bruce Hines has been hired by the Seattle Mariners to be third base coach in 2009 for manager Don Wakamatsu, Hines’ predecessor. reported today that the Seattle Mariners have hired Bruce Hines, the Angels’ minor league field coordinator, to be their third base coach in 2009.

The Mariners named Don Wakamatsu their new manager on November 19. Wakamatsu was the Angels’ field coordinator before Hines, and also served as the manager of the Double-A Erie SeaWolves. On December 1, the Mariners hired former Angels roving hitting instructor Ty Van Burkleo as their bench coach. Lee Tinsley, who will be the first base coach, was the Angels’ roving outfield coordinator in 2002 and once played in the Angels’ farm system.

The field coordinator basically runs the farm system for the player development director. Among those to hold that title were Joe Maddon and Marcel Lachemann. Darrell Miller had both titles when he ran the system in 2000-2001, then Wakamatsu became the field coordinator after Darrell left. Hines succeeded Wak when he took a job as the bench coach in Texas for Buck Showalter.

It’s a tremendous compliment to the Angels’ player development system that so many instructors and coaches have moved up to the big leagues. Mike Butcher, the Angels’ current pitching coach, began as the pitching coach for Rookie-A Butte in 2000. He left with Maddon to become the Tampa Bay Devil Rays’ pitching coach in 2006, then returned to the Angels as their pitching coach in 2007 when Bud Black left to manage the San Diego Padres.

Hines had 24 years of service with the Angels. Although he coached first base for a year with the Angels in 1991 under manager Doug Rader, most of his time was spent in coaching and managing. He also scouted between 1984-1990.

I recorded an interview with Hines in 1998 when we were both in Cedar Rapids. He was there as the roving defense instructor. Click Here to listen to the interview. You need Windows Media Player to listen.

Ten years later, I filmed Bruce last September when he was working with prospects at fall instructional league, teaching them how to properly run the basepaths. Click Here to watch the video. You need Windows Media Player and a broadband Internet connection (cable modem, DSL) to watch.

As for who will replace Hines, the logical assumption is that it will be someone already in the organization well-versed in the Angels’ player development program. (I have my guesses, but I’ll keep them to myself …) The Angels just announced their 2009 coaching staffs on November 26, so an internal promotion means creating another vacancy that will have to be filled.

The Angels in recent years have filled coaching positions at the lower levels with players recently retired from our organization — Tom Gregorio, Keith Johnson, Brent Del Chiaro, Brandon Emanuel and Mike Eylward just to name a few. My guess is you’ll see someone move up into the field coordinator position, and that vacancy might be filled by another ex-Angels minor leaguer.


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