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Mark McGwire, Mark Grace candidates for D-backs hitting coach opening

With hitting coach Turner Ward surprisingly deciding to part ways with the Arizona Diamondbacks, the team will begin searching for his replacement.

Among the candidates are former St. Louis Cardinals slugger Mark McGwire and current assistant hitting coach Mark Grace.

Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale confirmed to media members that McGwire and Grace would be in the running to join his coaching staff.

McGwire, a 12-time All-Star as a player, would arguably be the splashiest hire, especially considering his history coaching against the D-backs.

As a hitting coach with the Los Angeles Dodgers, he was involved in a bench-clearing brawl with Arizona’s coaching staff that included Ward and newly-appointed D-backs third base coach Matt Williams.

USA Today’s Bob Nightengale first reported that McGwire could be a candidate to replace Ward. It is only natural considering McGwire played under D-backs chief baseball officer Tony La Russa when La Russa was the Cardinals’ manager.

But McGwire’s job status is unclear. He was on Don Mattingly’s Dodgers staff and Mattingly recently accepted the managerial position with the Miami Marlins.

The Dodgers told the members of the staff they were free to search for new jobs, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Along with Grace, the Diamondbacks will give other internal candidates as look as well.

The Diamondbacks hired Cron last year as their hitting coordinator. Gross, another internal candidate, is the Triple-A Reno hitting coach.

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