The Arizona Diamondbacks put the finishing touches on their new coaching staff on Thursday, adding three former D-backs to the fold, including Mark Grace.
The former D-backs announcer and first baseman will join new manager Chip Hale’s coaching staff as the team’s new assistant hitting coach. Grace was a hitting instructor in the team’s minor league system last season.
“Mark has worked hard down in the minor leagues with our younger guys and really proved what a good hitting coach he was,” Hale said.
Grace has plenty of hitting experience to draw from after playing 16 seasons, hitting .303 with 173 home runs and 1,146 RBIs.
“He wants this,” Hale said. “He’s as excited as anybody is and he’s ready to get this thing turned around.
“He wants the Diamondbacks to be successful just like the rest of us and we’re going to draw on him a lot this year.”
Arizona’s offense could use a jolt after finishing last season ranked 25th in MLB in runs scored (615), 18th in batting average (.248) and 24th in OPS (.678).
His role on the coaching staff will be a versatile one, as Hale will rely on Grace for more than just offense.
“He’ll help me on the bench at times,” Hale said. “He can help out with the first basemen (since) he’s obviously one of the best defensive first basemen in baseball.”
Grace has worked his way back into the good graces of the organization after a pair of drunk-driving incidents led to his removal as the team’s broadcaster in 2012.
“He’s done everything he needed to do. We’ve given him a second shot here and he’s taken it and ran with it,” Hale said.
Turner Ward will remain the team’s hitting coach after having that role last season.