The Pirates have hired Jeff Banister as a special assistant, baseball operations, the team announced. He joins fellow new hire David Eckstein in that regard.
The 54-year-old Banister is headed back to Pittsburgh, which selected him in the 25th round of the 1986 draft. Banister then spent seven seasons in the Pirates’ minor league system and picked up his sole majors plate appearance with the team in 1991. He eventually went on to manage for five seasons in the minors with Pittsburgh and also spent three seasons as its major league field coordinator and eight as a minor league field coordinator. Banister topped that off by serving as the Pirates’ interim pitching coach in 2008 and their bench coach in 2010.
After his long tenure in Pittsburgh, Banister became the Rangers’ manager in 2014. He held that position through last year, posting a 325-313 regular-season record with a pair of playoff berths and two American League West titles. Perhaps Banister will be in line to become the Pirates’ next manager if Clint Hurdle’s run ends, then, though there’s no indication the Bucs are down on the latter despite three straight non-playoff seasons.