The Texas Rangers announced that Don Wakamatsu and Dan Warthen have been officially named to the 2018 coaching staff. Wakamatsu will be the Rangers’ bench coach, and Warthen will be the assistant pitching coach. Steve Buechele, who was the bench coach last year, moves to first base coach.
The hiring of Wakamatsu, who was a coach for the Rangers a decade ago before managing the Mariners and then being the Royals’ bench coach the past four years, had been expected, based on reports from a few days ago. The addition of Warthen, however, is a surprise. Warthen had been the New York Mets’ pitching coach for the past 10 years, and was let go after the team fired manager Terry Collins and replaced him with Mickey Callaway.
Under Warthen, the Mets had a pitching staff that threw hard, missed lots of bats, but had a hard time staying healthy. I’m not sure how much of any of those factors can be attributed to Warthen, but this is an eye-opening hire.
The Rangers also officially announced the hiring of Colby Lewis as special assistant to the general manager, and Ross Fenstermaker as Director of Pro Scouting. Colby, of course, was drafted by the Rangers, made his debut with the majors, bounced around, went to Japan, excelled there, and came back to be a fixture with the Rangers from 2010-16. He didn’t pitch last season, and apparently is ready for a post-playing-career role in baseball.
Fenstermaker has been with the Rangers since 2010, and was promoted to International Crosscheck after the 2016 season.