Pirates hire Rick Eckstein as hitting coach
Rick Eckstein, who was hired Friday as the Pittsburgh Pirates’ new hitting coach, brings with him teaching experience on a variety of levels.
Eckstein, 45, has tutored hitters in the major and minor leagues and college. He spent the past two seasons as the Minnesota Twins’ minor-league hitting coordinator.
“Rick Eckstein brings experience, knowledge and a relentless drive to combine old-school thought and new-school concepts to help our Major League Team,” general manager Neal Huntington said. “His ability to impact each player’s approach and skill set will aid in our ability to create runs and maximize our performance as a team. The various roles Rick has held have prepared him to implement an individualized mental, physical and fundamental program to benefit our Major League team and our organization.”
Before his time with the Twins, Eckstein was an assistant coach at University of Kentucky from 2015-16. He also was the Washington Nationals’ hitting coach from 2009-13 before joining the Los Angeles Angels in 2014 in several roles, including player information coach, assistant hitting coach and advanced scout.
Eckstein also served in the Montreal Expos organization in 2004-05 as the Double-A hitting coach in ’04 and coach in extended spring training in ‘05. He was a hitting coach at the Triple-A level for the Nationals in 2008 and ’06 and with the St. Louis Cardinals organization in 2007.
Eckstein replaces Jeff Branson, who was fired along with his assistant Jeff Livesay at the end of the season.