Cincinnati Reds promote Joel McKeithan to hitting coach, add to David Bell's staff

The Cincinnati Reds promoted Joel McKeithan to hitting coach and announced Tuesday they hired four coaches for manager David Bell’s 2023 staff.

McKeithan spent the 2022 season as the Reds’ assistant hitting coach, his first year in the organization. McKeithan previously spent one year as Detroit’s minor league hitting coordinator and he was a minor league coach in Philadelphia’s farm system in 2019 and 2020.

Joel McKeithan, right, observes batting practice with former Reds catcher Chuckie Robinson during spring training.
Joel McKeithan, right, observes batting practice with former Reds catcher Chuckie Robinson during spring training.

The 31-year-old McKeithan replaces Alan Zinter, who was one of the five coaches dismissed at the end of the season, and he becomes the club’s fourth head hitting coach since the 2018 season. McKeithan's younger brother, Tim, is on the Pittsburgh Pirates' coaching staff while his youngest brother, Aaron, is a catcher in the St. Louis Cardinals' farm system.

“We actually had some improvements last year with people (McKeithan) worked directly with whether it was Brandon Drury or guys like that who have come in," Reds General Manager Nick Krall said. "He’s done a good job with a lot of the younger players that have come up and also he understands a lot of the technology.”

Joel McKeithan was promoted to Reds hitting coach on Tuesday.
Joel McKeithan was promoted to Reds hitting coach on Tuesday.

The Reds hired Terry Bradshaw and Tim LaMonte as their assistant hitting coaches. Collin Cowgill was named the first base coach and will work with the outfielders. Matt Tracy is the bullpen coach. Krall said the team will likely make one more additional hire.

For the internal changes, Jeff Pickler, who was the Reds’ outfield coach for the last four seasons, is now the infield coach. Pickler was primarily a second baseman during his baseball career. Assistant coach Kyle Arnsberg was promoted to advance scouting coordinator, Edgar Ferreira will work as the Major League video/technology coordinator and Joe Singley was named a bullpen catcher.

Bradshaw, 54, was the Kansas City Royals’ hitting coach for five seasons before he was fired in May, and he spent five seasons as the Royals’ minor league hitting coordinator. LaMonte, 45, was the New York Mets’ hitting coordinator in 2022 after spending three previous seasons as a minor league hitting coach with the Houston Astros.

Former Royals hitting coach Terry Bradshaw watches from the dugout during a game in 2019.
Former Royals hitting coach Terry Bradshaw watches from the dugout during a game in 2019.

LaMonte will carry an additional “integrated performance coach” title, which Krall said means LaMonte will be based in advanced technology.

“Having a three hitting coach system allows us to have different perspectives,” said Krall. Assistant coach Rolando Valles, who was dismissed at the end of the season, worked with hitters in his role last season, but he had a pitching background, so they filled his position with a true hitting coach.

Cowgill, 36, was a Double-A manager for the Seattle Mariners’ affiliate for the past two seasons. Tracy, 34, was the pitching analysis/development coordinator for the Toronto Blue Jays over the last three years.

“He was a guy (former Reds assistant pitching coach) Caleb Cotham knew really well,” Krall said of Tracy. “We’ve known him for a while. Obviously, followed his career because Caleb talked about him.”

The Reds dismissed five coaches at the end of the season: Zinter, Valles, first-base/infield coach Delino DeShields, bullpen coach Lee Tunnell and advance scouting coach Cristian Pérez. Assistant pitching coach Eric Jagers was hired by the New York Mets in November as their director of pitching development.

Bell, who has managed the Reds for the last four seasons, is entering the last year of his contract after he received a two-year extension in Sept. 2021.

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Reds announce 2023 coaching staff: Joel McKeithan hitting coach