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Arizona Diamondbacks hire Mark Grace as assistant hitting coach

The Arizona Diamondbacks are turning to a familiar face to help fill out new manager Chip Hale’s coaching staff.

As first reported by MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert, the team named Mark Grace as the assistant hitting coach. Turner Ward, who was the team’s hitting coach last season, will remain in that position.

Grace, who played 16 Major League seasons including his last three with the D-backs, has been a hitting instructor in the team’s minor league system. Prior to that, he was a broadcaster for the team, though he was removed from that role following a pair of drunk-driving incidents.

The hire should not come as a big surprise, especially given Grace’s desire to get into coaching and his success as a hitter. Over his big league career, the first baseman batted .303 with 173 home runs and 1,146 RBI. He was an All-Star three times.

In 2014, the D-backs finished 25th in all of baseball with 615 runs scored. Their .248 batting averaged ranked 18th in MLB, their on-base percentage of .302 placed them 26th, and their OPS (on base+slugging percentage) was .678, good enough for 24th.

In other coaching staff moves, the D-backs named Glenn Sherlock its bench coach, Andy Green its third base coach and Henry Blanco its coach/bullpen catcher.

Mike Harkey returns as the pitching coach, Dave McKay at first base, Mel Stottlemyre Jr. in the bullpen and Turner Ward as the hitting coach.