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D-backs hire Darnell Coles to fill hitting coach vacancy

Milwaukee Brewers hitting coach Darnell Coles is seen in the dugout during a spring training baseball game against the Cleveland Indians, Monday, Feb. 26, 2018, in Maryvale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

The Arizona Diamondbacks have hired former Milwaukee Brewers hitting coach Darnell Coles to fill their coaching staff vacancy, 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s John Gambadoro reported.

The team announced the hire shortly thereafter, adding that Tim Laker will return to the club as assistant hitting coach.

As of Tuesday, Coles was the leading candidate to fill Arizona’s hitting coach role, as reported by The Athletic’s Robert Murray and confirmed by Gambadoro. The hitting coach position was previously held by Dave Magadan, who mutually parted ways with the D-backs after the 2018 season. Murray said the deal with the Diamondbacks was “expected to get done.”

Coles, 56, played in Major League Baseball from 1983-1995 before spending the next three years with two teams in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball league and a stint with the Colorado Rockies.

He joined the Washington Nationals as a hitting instructor in 2006 and rose to become manager with the team’s Vermont Lake Monsters in 2007 and Hagerstown Suns the next season.

Coles became hitting coach for Washington’s Triple-A team in Syracuse, New York, in 2008, then jumped to the Brewers’ franchise in 2012. He managed their Triple-A club in Nashville in 2013.

Coles joined the Detroit Tigers in late 2013 as an assistant hitting coach before taking the hitting coach position with Milwaukee in 2014. Coles resigned from the Brewers after the 2018 season.

Last year, Milwaukee ranked 12th in runs scored (754), 11th in hits (1,398), 12th in average (.252) and ninth in OPS (.747) during the regular season.

Meanwhile, Arizona was 19th in runs (693), 28th in hits (1,283), tied for third-worst in average (.235) and 21st in OPS (.707).

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