JANIE McCAULEY, Associated Press
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The San Francisco Giants have reassigned longtime pitching coach Dave Righetti from manager Bruce Bochy’s field staff to special assistant to the general manager, working under Bobby Evans.
The club announced Righetti’s role change to the front office Saturday, along with bullpen coach Mark Gardner moving into a special assignment job assisting in pitching evaluations. Assistant hitting coach Steve Decker is now a special assistant in baseball operations.
Evans said the club is interviewing for a pitching coach and hitting coach. He said it was too soon to say whether hitting coach Hensley Meulens would remain in his role but that at least one hitting coach position is open with Decker being reassigned.
“Ultimately a change for us in the clubhouse is really an opportunity just to put a new voice with our pitching staff and try to keep pushing to the heights that we aspire as an organization and a club,” Evans said. “Changes sometimes are needed as much for the sake of that new voice as anything. That was really the priority here. Change can be for the good of both your staff and your players sometimes. This is certainly not going to eliminate Dave Righetti’s voice in this organization, in some ways it may even enlarge his voice, but it gives the players a daily perspective on perhaps new ways to approach the game or new ways to approach their work.”
Righetti’s 18 years as pitching coach marked the longest run in the position in San Francisco history. He was one of only five Giants coaches since 1900 with at least 10 years on the staff.
San Francisco went 64-98 for a last-place finish in the NL West and avoided the franchise’s first 100-loss season since 1985 during the final weekend of the regular season. The Giants, long defined by dominant pitching, had a 16th-ranked 4.50 team ERA and lost ace Madison Bumgarner for nearly three months after his dirt bike accident in Colorado. Right-hander Johnny Cueto also was out for significant time on the disabled list with various injuries.
The Giants won the World Series in 2010, ’12 and ’14 — making this season all the more shocking given a roster that looked as if it could contend coming out of spring training.
“It does raise the level of attention to change when you struggle as much as we have,” Evans said. “You’re always contemplating making changes to try to help keep pushing your guys and make sure that you continue to have different perspectives and new voices and reflections on how to get the most out of them.”
The 58-year-old Righetti, a left-hander who pitched 16 seasons in the majors and was the 1981 AL Rookie of the Year, threw a no-hitter for the Yankees against the Red Sox on July 4, 1983.
Evans discussed the role change with Righetti in September and they have since spoken by phone multiple times.
“His heartbeat is in uniform as a coach, that’s his heartbeat,” Evans said. “But he also loves this organization and loves our players and our pitchers, particularly, and wants to make an impact and wants to be open to how that could look in a different role. I’m sure it’s still hard to imagine even for us Dave not in uniform. But at the same time there’s so much that he can offer in this new role.”
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