The Rangers are hiring Donnie Ecker away from the Giants to serve as the new bench coach and offensive coordinator in Texas, reports ESPN’s Jeff Passan (via Twitter). Ecker has spent the past two seasons as the hitting coach in San Francisco.
Ecker, 35, was a 22nd-round draft pick by the Rangers back in 2007 and spent a couple seasons as a second baseman in their system before moving onto a two-year stint on the independent circuit. Since calling it quits as a player, he’s coached in the college ranks, worked on the Cardinals’ player development staff and spent a couple of seasons in the Reds organization. With Cincinnati, Ecker was an assistant hitting coach on the Major League staff and the organization’s overall director of hitting.
As bench coach, Ecker will be stepping in to replace the recently dismissed Don Wakamatsu, who’d spent the past four seasons as bench coach in Texas. The Rangers also parted with hitting coach Luis Ortiz at the that same time, and while Ecker won’t be the team’s new hitting coach, his previous work in that role and the newly created title of offensive coordinator indicate that he’ll play a vital role in developing offensive philosophies and methodologies throughout the organization.
The Rangers still have not named a new hitting coach to replace Ortiz, but to this point it seems that both assistant hitting coach Callix Crabbe and minor league hitting coordinator Cody Atkinson are remaining in the organization. The addition of Ecker is one of multiple organizational changes the Rangers are set to make this winter. They’re also reportedly hiring Josh Bonifay away from the Phillies to serve as their new farm director.