Giants hitting coach Alonzo Powell has accepted a position as the new hitting coach of the Chunichi Dragons, the Dragons announced this week (hat tip: Jim Allen).
Powell’s status with the Giants was up in the air following the organization’s recent hiring of Gabe Kapler as the successor to iconic manager Bruce Bochy. It’s common for clubs to restructure their coaching ranks with the hiring of a new manager; the Giants already appear set to lose Hensley Meulens and already saw bullpen coach Matt Herges hired away by the division-rival Diamondbacks. Newly hired managers are frequently allowed to appoint their own staff, although Giants mainstay Ron Wotus will remain on hand as the team’s third-base coach.
It’s not exactly an unfamiliar jump for Powell, who played as an outfielder with the Dragons in six seasons from age 27 through 32 (1992-97). During an impressive run with the Chunichi club, Powell was a three-time batting champion who hit .300 or better and posted an OBP north of .350 in five of his six seasons. Powell maintained an OPS better than .900 in four consecutive years there, including an eye-catching .355/.405/.584 slash in 1995.
Powell has extensive experience as a minor league hitting coach and manager. He’s previously served as an assistant hitting coach with the Padres and Astros as well as interim hitting coach with the Mariners back in 2010.