BOSTON, MA—The Boston Red Sox today named Greg Colbrunn as the club’s Major League hitting coach. Executive Vice President/General Manager Ben Cherington and Manager John Farrell made the announcement.
Colbrunn, who played 13 years in the Majors and won a World Series with the Diamondbacks in 2001, will be in his first season on a Major League staff and first in the Red Sox organization in 2013. During his Major League career, his teams reached postseason play five times.
The 43-year-old Colbrunn has spent the past six years with the Yankees’ Single-A Charleston affiliate, serving five seasons as the RiverDogs hitting coach from 2007-09 and 2011-12, and one campaign as the club’s manager in 2010.
“Greg’s success as a hitting coach and his experiences as a Major League player make him a strong addition to the Red Sox coaching staff,” said Farrell.
In Charleston this past season, he worked with outfielders Mason Williams and Tyler Austin, and catcher Gary Sanchez, all of whom were recently rated among the Top 5 prospects in the Yankees system by Baseball America, with Williams tabbed as the organization’s best prospect. The 2012 RiverDogs finished fourth in the 14-team South Atlantic League with a .268 average (1,230-for-4,597), fifth with a .727 OPS and tied for fifth with 672 runs scored.
Under his guidance, Charleston finished second in the South Atlantic League in average (.265), on-base percentage (.334), hits (1,254) and runs (705) in 2008, and led the league in triples (46) and walks (495) while placing second in hits (1,228), and third in average (.260) and on-base percentage (.337) in 2009. In his only season as the RiverDogs manager in 2010, Colbrunn led the club to a 65-74 (.468) record.
Selected by Montreal in the sixth round of the 1987 draft out of Fontana (CA) High School as a catcher, Colbrunn hit .289 (801-for-2,769) with 155 doubles, 12 triples, 98 home runs, 422 RBI, 337 runs, 170 walks and 29 stolen bases over 992 career big league games with the Expos (1992-93), Marlins (1994-96), Twins (1997), Braves (1997-98), Rockies (1998), Diamondbacks (1999-2002, ’04) and Mariners (2003) while appearing primarily at first base.
He made 260 career appearances as a pinch-hitter, batting .310 (71-for-229) with 11 doubles, nine home runs, 48 RBI and 20 walks. His .310 average and .476 slugging percentage as a pinch-hitter are both the second-best career marks among players with at least 250 plate appearances in the pinch since 1974.
Colbrunn hit for the cycle on September 18, 2002 at San Diego while playing for Arizona, collecting five hits including two home runs. He became the first player with a multi-homer cycle in a nine-inning game since Ralph Kiner did it in 1950.
Colbrunn played in 21 career postseason games, including six with the Diamondbacks during their 2001 title run, and compiled a .344 average (11-for-32) in postseason play.