The Yankees are bringing a familiar face back to New York as the team’s new assistant hitting coach, as the club announced that Hensley Meulens has been hired for the job. (The Curacao Chronicle first reported Meulens’ appointment over the weekend). The position has been briefly filled by Eric Chavez earlier this winter, before Chavez left the Yankees to become the Mets’ chief hitting coach.
Meulens is no stranger to the Bronx, as he spent five of his seven MLB seasons playing with the Yankees (from 1989-93). He was also one of the candidates interviewed for the last Yankees’ managerial vacancy, before the club hired Aaron Boone in December 2017.
After the Yankees parted ways with former hitting coaches Marcus Thames and P.J. Pilittere after the season, Yankees GM Brian Cashman said he planned to add a third hitting coach to the mix, a nod to the recent trend for larger and more specialized coaching staffs around baseball. Dillon Lawson was promoted to the role of hitting coach and Casey Dykes was named assistant, and since neither Lawson or Dykes played pro ball, New York was reportedly focused on hiring a former Major League veteran to add some on-field experience to the staff. Chavez fit the description, and Meulens brings both his playing experience as well as a lengthy coaching resume.
Meulens spent 10 seasons on the Giants’ coaching staff, serving as both the hitting coach and bench coach under Bruce Bochy. Meulens also spent a single season as the Mets’ bench coach in 2020, and spent time as a coach in the minors in the Orioles and Pirates organizations from 2003-2008.
This resume has put Meulens on the radar for several managerial openings over the years, as he interviewed with not only the Yankees, but also the Twins, Reds, Mets, Red Sox and Giants over the years. Given his long stint in San Francisco, there was some sense that Meulens could be Bochy’s heir apparent in the manager’s job, though he moved onto his bench coach role with the Mets after the Giants instead opted to hire Gabe Kapler as skipper.