The Texas Rangers announced today that Luis Ortiz has been hired from the Los Angeles Dodgers to be the team’s new hitting coach. The team also announced that Hector Ortiz is moving from bullpen coach to first base coach, while Don Wakamatsu will remain as bench coach. Jayce Tingler has been named the major league player development field coordinator, and Tony Beasley will remain as third base coach. Steve Buechele is now special assistant for baseball operations, while Doug Brocail and Dan Warthen will not return for 2019.
Ortiz is a former major leaguer who was acquired by the Rangers from the Boston Red Sox in the deal that sent Jose Canseco to Boston and brought Otis Nixon to Texas. Ortiz was a minor league hitting coordinator with the Rangers from 2009-12, then was with the Indians from 2013-14. Ortiz joined the Padres after 2014 and was with them until after the 2017 season, when he shared assistant hitting coach and minor league hitting coordinator duties with Brant Brown.
New manager Chris Woodward is obviously familiar with Ortiz from their time together last year with the Dodgers. Los Angeles has done a grest job finding position players off the scrap heap and turning them into productive major league hitters — see Justin Turner, Chris Taylor and Max Muncy. I have no idea how involved Ortiz was with any of them, or how his philosophy dovetails with what the Dodgers are doing, but Texas has hired a hitting coach from a team that has had success re-vamping hitters, particularly in getting them to put the ball in the air while hitting it hard. One hopes this will translate to Texas, and in particular, to Nomar Mazara.