(Dave Hansen, named today as the Mariners’ new hitting coach, is greeted by teammates Rich Aurilia and Quinton McCracken after homering against Oakland in 2004. Seattle Times staff photo).
Dave Hansen, a former Mariners’ infielder, was announced today as the Mariners’ new hitting coach, crossing one important item off their offseason to-do list.
Hansen was fired by the Dodgers as their hitting coach after the 2012 season. He had held that position since July 20, 2011, when he replaced Jeff Pentland – who is now the Mariners’ Triple-A hitting coach and was believed to have been a candidate for the job.
“I think Dave will be a good addition to our big league staff,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said in a press release. “He’s had success as both a coach and a player, and has a clear vision of how to help prepare our hitters to be successful.”
“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,” Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik said. “We look forward to having Dave re-join the Seattle organization.”
Hansen, 43, replaces Chris Chambliss, who was also fired at the end of the 2012 season. Hansen had a 15-year major-league career which ended with a season-plus in Seattle in 2004 and 2005.
Hansen was the only Dodgers’ coach not retained on manager Don Mattingly’s staff after the just-completed season. He was offered another position in the organization. Last season, the Dodgers finished 26th in the major leagues in runs, 28th in slugging percentage, 29th in home runs, and 16th in batting average and on-base percernage. The Mariners were 27th in runs, 19th in home runs, and last in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.
Hansen was originally acquired by the Mariners from the Padres after the 2003 season in the multi-player deal that sent Jeff Cirillo to San Diego. The Mariners then traded Hansen back to the Padres on July 30, 2004, for pitcher Jon Huber. The Mariners signed Hansen back as a free agent after the 2004 season, and he hit .173 in 60 games in 2005 before retiring after the season.
Hansen then embarked on his coaching career, spending four seasons in the Diamondbacks organization, including three as their minor-league hitting coordinator, before moving to the Dodgers as a hitting instructor in 2011.
He was particularly reknown as a pinch-hitter, setting the major-league record (later tied) with seven pinch-hit homers in 2000.