11/20/2007 11:21 AM ET
Yankees announce 2008 coaching staff
The New York Yankees announced today their coaching staff for the 2008 season. They will be led by Manager Joe Girardi, who was named the 32nd manager in franchise history on Oct. 30.
Girardi's coaching staff includes three members of the Yankees' 2007 Major League coaching staff. Those returning are hitting coach Kevin Long, first base coach Tony Pena and Rob Thomson, who moves from Major League field coordinator to bench coach. New to the Yankees' Major League staff are two former Yankees players, pitching coach Dave Eiland and third base coach Bobby Meacham, along with bullpen coach Mike Harkey.
Long, 40, returns for his second season as Yankees hitting coach. He made his Major League coaching debut in 2007, leading a Yankees offense that paced the Majors in runs (968), batting average (.290), slugging percentage (.463) and on-base percentage (.366). Long joined the Yankees in 2004, spending three years as Triple-A Columbus' hitting coach prior to becoming a member of the Major League staff. He was originally selected by the Royals in the 31st round of the 1989 First-Year Player Draft and played in their system for eight years (1989-96) before joining the Royals Minor League coaching ranks from 1997-2003.
Pena, 50, will be entering his third season as Yankees first base coach in 2008. Prior to his current role, he managed the Kansas City Royals from 2002-05. In his first full season as manager in 2003, he led the Royals to an 83-79 record (after a 62-100 record in 2002), winning the American League "Manager of the Year" Award. He began his coaching career in 1998, spending one season as the Chicago White Sox' coordinator of Dominican operations. Pena then joined the Houston Astros organization, where he managed Triple-A New Orleans (1999-2001) and briefly served as their Major League bench coach (2002) before taking the Royals' managerial job. As a player, he was a five-time National League All-Star in an 18-year Major League career as a catcher with the Pittsburgh Pirates (1980-86), St. Louis Cardinals (1987-89), Boston Red Sox (1990-93), Cleveland Indians (1994-96), Chicago White Sox (1997) and Houston Astros (1997). Pena posted a .260 career batting average (1,687-for-6,489) with 667 runs, 1687 hits, 107 home runs and 708 RBI, compiling a .991 career fielding percentage and throwing out 33.3% of potential base stealers.
Thomson, 44, will be entering his 19th season in the Yankees organization and his first as bench coach. He began his Yankees coaching career in 1990, spending eight seasons coaching and managing in the Yankees' Minor League system (1990-97) before becoming field coordinator from 1998-99, director of player development from 2000-02 and vice president of Minor League development in 2003. He joined the Major League staff in 2004 as a special assignment Instructor, spending three seasons in that role (2004-06) before serving as the Major League field coordinator in 2007. Thomson played collegiately at the University of Kansas and was selected in the 32nd round of the 1985 First-Year Player Draft by the Detroit Tigers. He was a catcher and third baseman in the Tigers' system from 1985-88 before joining their minor league coaching staff in 1988.
Eiland, 41, will be entering his sixth season coaching in the Yankees organization. As the pitching coach for the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees in 2007, his staff was second in the International League with 1,101 strikeouts, tied for second with 13 shutouts and fourth with a 3.64 ERA. He began his coaching career in 2003 as the pitching coach for the Rookie League Gulf Coast Yankees before serving in the same capacity for the Single-A Staten Island Yankees (2004) and Double-A Trenton Thunder (2005-06). In 2006, Trenton pitchers led the Eastern League with 80 wins, a 3.20 ERA and 1,107 strikeouts. Eiland was originally selected by the Yankees in the seventh round of the 1987 First-Year Player Draft, playing in parts of five seasons with the club (1988-91, '95). He also played with the San Diego Padres (1992-93) and Tampa Bay Devil Rays (1998-2000) before two Tommy John surgeries on his right elbow forced his retirement in 2002. Overall, he appeared in 92 career Major League games (70 starts) over 10 seasons, going 12-27 with a 5.74 ERA (373.0IP, 238ER).
Harkey, 41, joins the Yankees as bullpen coach, a role he served under Joe Girardi with the Florida Marlins in 2006. He spent the 2007 season as the pitching coach with the Triple-A Iowa Cubs and previously worked as a pitching coach for six seasons (2000-05) in the Padres' farm system. A former first-round pick of the Chicago Cubs in 1987 (fourth overall), Harkey appeared in 131 career Major League games (104 starts) over eight seasons with the Cubs (1988-93), Colorado Rockies (1994), Oakland Athletics (1995), California Angels (1995) and Los Angeles Dodgers (1997), going 36-36 with a 4.49 ERA (656.0 IP, 327ER).
Meacham, 47, enters his first season as the Yankees' third base coach, having filled the same role under Joe Girardi with the 2006 Florida Marlins. He was the first base coach for the San Diego Padres in 2007. Meacham was originally selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the first round (eighth overall) of the 1981 First-Year Player Draft and was acquired by the Yankees in 1982. Primarily a shortstop, he batted .236 (324-for-1,371) with 58 doubles, eight home runs, 114 RBI and 58 stolen bases in 457 Major League games over parts of six seasons, all with the Yankees. He owns 27 years of experience in professional baseball, including minor league managerial and coaching stints with the Los Angeles Angels organization (2002-04), Pittsburgh Pirates organization (1994-2001), Colorado Rockies organization (1993, 2005) and Kansas City Royals organization (1992).