Leyland endorses hitting coach candidate Van Slyke
Count Tigers manager Jim Leyland among those who believe Andy Van Slyke would make a fine hitting coach in the Major Leagues.
Van Slyke, who interviewed for the position of Mets hitting coach Monday at the Winter Meetings, has never served that role in the big leagues. But he often looked the part during his tenure as first-base coach in Detroit, working one-on-one with players such as Gary Sheffield and Curtis Granderson. At the time, Van Slyke took some heat for overstepping the boundaries of his role — the Pirates already had a hitting coach in Lloyd McClendon. But Leyland insisted that Van Slyke’s intentions were good.
“I had a long talk with Terry Collins about that exact thing,” Leyland said. “He called me a couple times about it. I think he would do fine in the hitting coach job. I think what happened with us was he got a little bored with what he was doing. He was as hard-working a coach physically as I had. He was not afraid. Nobody will out-work him over there. If he gets the job, he will work day and night. That’s just the kind of guy he is. He’s got a lot of energy. I think coaching first base for us, he just got a little bored during games. There wasn’t really enough for him to do. If he’s a hitting coach, I think that’ll change. I think he’ll be different, because there’s so much more. He’s a very knowledgeable guy.”
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