Coaching Links: Willis, McClure, Cubs, Duncan

It's been a busy day in the coaching ranks. Here's the latest:

  • The Mariners have fired pitching coach Carl Willis, reports Geoff Baker of the Seattle TImes. After being permitted to interview for other vacancies, but failing to land one, Willis says that Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik told him "it would be too awkward" to keep him on board. According to Baker, that statement was made in reference to the departure of manager Eric Wedge, who Willis was close with. The club also re-assigned bullpen coach Jaime Navarro to a minor league post.

Earlier Updates

  • The Phillies hired Bob McClure as their new pitching coach yesterday,'s Jim Salisbury reported. The Phils would later confirm the signing themselves. McClure, 61, served as the Royals pitching coach from 2006-11 and filled the same role with the Red Sox in 2012. "Bob brings a wealth of experience to our staff," manager Ryne Sandberg said in a statement released by the team. "We talked to many good candidates and couldn’t be more pleased to add ‘Mac’ as our pitching coach." 
  • The Cubs announced that pitching coach Chris Bosio, bullpen coach Lester Strode, catching/strategy coach Mike Borzello and staff assistant Franklin Font will all return to the coaching staff in 2014.
  • New to the Cubs staff will be bench coach Brandon Hyde, third base/infield coach Gary Jones, hitting coach Bill Mueller, assistant hitting coach Mike Brumley and quality assurance coach Jose Castro. Mueller, of course, played 11 seasons at the MLB level recently and won the 2003 AL batting title with the Red Sox.
  • The Diamondbacks announced that Dave Duncan will serve as a special assistant to GM Kevin Towers and a Major League pitching consultant. The 68-year-old is best known for his recent work as the Cardinals pitching coach from 1996-2011. He will assist the big league coaching staff's work with pitchers and catchers during Spring Training, evaluate the team's farm system and assist in evaluating draft prospects.
  •'s Alden Gonzalez reports (via Twitter) that the Angels have brough back 2013 hitting coach Jim Eppard as a roving hitting coordinator and hired Terry Francona's son, Nick, as their new coordinator of MLB intelligence. Francona will work closely with Rick Eckstein to prepare scouting plans for each series, Gonzalez adds.

Jeff Todd contributed to this post.


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