Just got off the phone with new Mariners hitting coach Alan Cockrell (wearing No. 58 in the above photo), who spent the last two seasons as the Colorado Rockies’ hitting instructor. We’re the first Seattle media outlet to interview Cockrell and he had plenty of interesting things to say. We had told you a while back that Jose Castro would be kept on in that role, but things changed very recently. Cockrell only knew manager Don Wakamatsu in passing, but is very close to new Mariners bench coach Ty Van Burkleo — his roommate when he was a player at Class AAA Colorado Springs. Once Van Burkleo was brought into the fold, the Mariners began seeing things in a different light where the hitting coach job was concerned. They changed their planned course and began to look at Cockrell for the job.
Van Burkleo pushed for Cockrell, who had taken a job as a Class AAA hitting instructor with the Atlanta Braves. It wasn’t until this past week that the Mariners obtained permission from Atlanta to interview Cockrell for the job. A couple of phone interviews later, the Mariners had their man. Cockrell was heading into a business luncheon as a guest speaker on Wednesday when GM Jack Zduriencik phoned to tell him it looked like he was the guy.
Cockrell and the M’s hammered out a deal the past day or so, and now he’s the hitting coach. So, an entirely new staff for the 2009 season.
We spoke about the Rockies and their World Series run two years ago. Cockrell stressed the importance of having all 25 guys on that team back each other up on and off the field.
“That’s what winning ballclubs do,” he said, “It was a very, very talented young club coming together and doing what they had to do to pull off a miracle.
“It wasn’t just the Matt Hollidays, the Garrett Atkins, or the Troy Tulowitzkis doing it. It was everybody on our roster. It might have been the 24th guy to move a runner over to third base and then the 25th guy to get the six-hopper up the middle.”
Cockrell added that, between the Mariners now and the 2007 Rockies: “I see a lot of parrallels with that club we had two years ago, There’s some youth and there’s talent. It just has to be a selfless offensive approach to get it done over 162 games and get to the playoffs.”
Photo Credit: Lenny Ignelzi/AP
December 7, 2008 at 6:25 PM