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Category: Trey Hillman

Dodgers coaching staff tranquillity: Whole group returns for 2012

Photo: Don Mattingly. Credit: Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press.

Ah, harmony, ain’t it grand? Not a frequent visitor to the Dodgers the last two seasons, but they have found a comfortable accord in one area.

The Dodgers announced Friday that their entire coaching staff would return next season, which, though expected, is still noteworthy for the speed in which it was accomplished.

Of course, the staff could still change if one of the coaches –- Tim Wallach? –- gets an offer to manage over the winter, but for now at least one significant area is all settled. And think how happy agent Dave Stewart must be.

It was Stewart who complained about the way the coaches Larry Bowa and Bob Schaefer were handling his numero uno client, Matt Kemp, last season. Guess which two coaches didn’t return in 2011?

Kemp, of course, found his groove this year with a breakout season, so why would there be any rocking of the boat now? Plus, they all seem to work well together with Manager Don Mattingly and are liked and respected by the players. Win-win.

So the seven solid coaches the Dodgers ended the season with are now all scheduled to return, though that technically still leaves them down one spot from the last few years. After hitting coach Jeff Pentland was fired in July, another coach was never added.

The seven samurai are:

Dave Hansen, originally hired as a hitting instructor to assist Pentland, was promoted to hitting coach on July 20, the team hitting .261 the rest of the way; Trey Hillman is back for his second year as bench coach; Rick Honeycutt is back for a seventh season as pitching coach after the staff composed a 3.54 ERA; Ken Howell returns for his fifth year as the bullpen coach; Davey Lopes, credited for igniting the team’s running attack, returns for his second year as first base coach; Wallach is back for a second stint as the third base coach; and Manny Mota a record 33rd year as a coach.

MORE:

Strong finish sparks hope for Dodgers in 2012

Dodgers' Matt Kemp has one final blast in 7-5 victory

T.J. Simers: Don Mattingly hopes he's earned his stripes as a manager

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Don Mattingly. Credit: Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press.

Dodgers' injury carousel continues: Rod Barajas to DL, Hong-Chih Kuo activated, A.J. Ellis up and Ramon Troncoso down

Ln0w0unc One’s up, one’s down.

Is it progress when you’re no longer going backward?

The Dodgers placed catcher Rod Barajas on the 15-day disabled list prior to Sunday’s game and called up A.J. Ellis from triple-A Albuquerque.

They also activated reliever Hong-Chih Kuo from the DL and optioned Ramon Troncoso back to Albuquerque.

The Dodgers have now placed 14 different players on the disabled list this season, a total of 19 different times. Entering Sunday, they had missed a total of 449 games. And it’s only June 19.

Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly said Barajas’ ankle injury did not appear to be as serious as originally feared, and it was hoped he could be activated at the end of his 15-day period on the DL.

Continue reading »

Davey Lopes, Tim Wallach and Trey Hillman officially named to Dodgers' coaching staff [Updated]

Lopes_600

The Dodgers officially announced their 2011 coaching staff Monday, the news value of which had long ago dissipated as it was leaked out in pieces for weeks.

Manager Don Mattingly’s first coaching staff will look largely familiar, with even the new faces being old friends.

Officially out: bench coach Bob Schaefer, third base coach Larry Bowa, first base coach Mariano Duncan and, of course, hitting coach Mattingly.

The replacements: bench coach Trey Hillman, third base coach Tim Wallach, first base coach Davey Lopes and hitting instructor Dave Hansen.

Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, hitting coach Jeff Pentland (up from instructor), bullpen coach Ken Howell and coach Manny Mota all return.

Schaefer decided it was time he moved on, but Bowa and Duncan wanted to return. I’d have liked to have seen the no-nonsense Bowa back, never feeling that leading a popularity contest in the clubhouse among coaches was a requirement.

Mattingly, too, wanted Bowa, but General Manager Ned Colletti said the coaching staff would be a mutual decision between him and Mattingly, so you can see how that went down.

"We’re really happy to have this group here," Colletti said. "In my tenure here, this has a chance to be the strongest group we’ve had."

Though I don’t have any personal insight about the American League’s Hillman, Mattingly and Colletti deserve some props for putting together a strong staff. And one largely with Dodgers roots.

Mattingly gets credit for not being threatened by Wallach, the former Dodger who had managed the last two seasons at triple-A Albuquerque and was favored by many to succeed Joe Torre.

Continue reading »

More from The Times' visit with Don Mattingly

To report on a story on Don Mattingly that ran in Tuesday's print edition of The Times, I visited the Arizona Fall League for a few days last week. Here are some tidbits I collected that didn’t make the story:

-- Several members of Mattingly’s coaching staff were at one of the games I attended -- Trey Hillman (bench coach), Tim Wallach (third-base coach), Jeff Pentland (hitting coach) and Rick Honeycutt (pitching coach). The group sat with General Manager Ned Colletti, who has been out to Arizona at least once a week during the Fall League season.

-- Shortly after the Dodgers announced Mattingly would replace Joe Torre as manager next season, Mattingly asked third-base coach Larry Bowa to be his bench coach. But Colletti wanted to go in a different direction. Mattingly wouldn’t say anything specific about what happened, but said this about Bowa: “You know what? It’s difficult. I’ll say that. I don’t know if I want to go much further than that. Bo’s knowledge, the way he sees the game is as good as I’ve seen. It’s a difficult situation.”

-- Mattingly said he doesn’t feel threatened by Wallach’s presence on his coaching staff. Wallach, who managed the Dodgers’ triple-A affiliate for the last two seasons, is considered to be a top managerial prospect. “I went through that with [Joe] Girardi in New York,” Mattingly said. “It’s one of those things. It’s not uncomfortable for me. I don’t think it’s for him either.” Girardi was chosen over Mattingly to manage the Yankees in the fall of 2007.

-- The Dodgers traded Mattingly’s son, former first-round pick Preston Mattingly, at the Mattinglys’ request. The Dodgers sent Preston, a minor-league infielder, to the Cleveland Indians. “I really appreciate that they did that,” Don said. “We kind of talked about it. He wasn’t playing. He didn’t do enough to warrant playing time. He’s 22. You don’t want to wait until he’s 24. I thought it was good that they did it. For him, it’s a new start, gives him a new opportunity. He still wants to try.”

-- Of the Dodgers’ position players in the Fall League, Mattingly said outfielder Trayvon Robinson is the most advanced. I spent some time talking to Robinson and will have more on him on this blog next week.

-- As I mentioned in the story, almost no one is at these games. At the first game I attended, there was a dead bird in the stands behind home plate. The bat boy was an old man in a maroon shirt and tan shorts who wore an oversized black helmet.

-- Dylan Hernandez

Did honesty cost Larry Bowa his job? Trey Hillman reportedly in line as Dodgers' bench coach

That looks like the end of Larry Bowa, Dodgers coach.

Without fanfare, without even a tip of the cap. Without any proper sendoff at all.

Dodgers.com’s Ken Gurnick has reported that ex-Kansas City Royals manager Trey Hillman has emerged as the front-runner to be Don Mattingly’s first bench coach.

Bowa had served as Joe Torre's third base coach the past three seasons. And rookie manager Mattingly had  wanted wanted Bowa to serve as his bench coach next season.

Only, Mattingly doesn’t have carte blanche when it comes to choosing his first coaching staff. Not exactly unique but still far from ideal. If the team doesn’t respond to his staff, Mattingly can always claim it’s because he wasn’t allowed to put together the staff he wanted.

"We won't have anybody that he's not comfortable with or anybody that I'm not comfortable with," said General Manager Ned Colletti at the end of the season.

Bowa, who wanted to return, said on the Dan Patrick show Wednesday he was not coming back to the Dodgers next season.

So, apparently, Colletti did not want Bowa back. You have to guess why, but the leading contender is, some felt Bowa was too hard on the kids. Because, you know, he wanted them actually to play hard.

Bowa had one dustup with Matt Kemp that was blown out of proportion, but people acted like he was riding the moody outfielder all season. It was Bowa, the crusty old-school coach. Bowa being too demanding. It was all very silly.

Ironically, the only one -- and the first -- to seriously criticize Kemp’s play was Colletti.

Said Colletti to KABC radio’s Peter Tilden of Kemp in April: "Some guys, I guess, think that they're better than they are. They think the opposition's just going to roll over and get beat by them. That obviously doesn't happen.

"The baserunning's below average. The defense is below average. Why is it? Because he got a new deal? I can't tell you."

All Bowa said was Kemp too often relied on his superb talent and did not always play as hard as he could. To which Kemp replied: He’s right.

Colletti, of course, is not going anywhere, but Bowa is out.

Replaced by a guy who managed the Royals to a 152-207 mark before getting fired May 13. I would love to give you some keen insight into Hillman, but that would require actually having watched the Royals much. And who is ever that bored? Maybe if you live in Kansas City.

Admittedly, the Royals gave Hillman precious little to work with, so maybe he’ll do fine in the Dodgers dugout. Who really knows?

He comes with yet another Yankees connection, having managed in their system for 12 years. Really, isn’t it time this Yankees fascination stopped?

Bowa likely will end up on another team, and they’ll be better off for it. Of course, they’ll have to brace for him asking them to play hard.

-- Steve Dilbeck

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