Arizona State hires Bloomquist as next baseball coach

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TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Arizona State has hired alum and former big league player Willie Bloomquist as its next baseball coach.

Athletic director Ray Anderson announced Bloomquist's hiring Friday. He replaces Tracy Smith, who was fired earlier this week after seven seasons.

Bloomquist played at Arizona State from 1997-99 and still has the fourth-highest batting average in school history at .394. He was a two-time All-American before being drafted in the third round of the 1999 Major League Baseball draft by the Seattle Mariners.

Bloomquist played 14 big league seasons with Kansas City, Arizona and over two stints with Seattle. He spent five years as a special assistant to Diamondbacks President and CEO Derrick Hall after joining the front office in 2016.

Bloomquist was the first Arizona State player to play for the hometown Diamondbacks during three seasons with the franchise from 2011-13.