Dave Hansen, a former Mariners player, was a finalist in 2010 when Seattle chose Chris Chambliss as hitting coach. On Monday, the Mariners announced they have hired Hansen to replace Chambliss, who was fired earlier this month.
Dave Hansen was a finalist when newly hired Mariners manager Eric Wedge selected Chris Chambliss to be his hitting coach in November 2010.
“From what I understand, at the time, I didn’t have, I don’t think, quite the experience they were looking for,” Hansen said. “I needed to go get that experience, which I do have now.”
And on Monday, the Mariners named Hansen, 43, as Chambliss’ replacement, making him the seventh person to hold that job since 2008. Hansen gained the requisite experience by serving as the Dodgers’ hitting coach since July 20, 2011, when he replaced the fired Jeff Pentland — now the Mariners’ Class AAA hitting coach and a former Mariners hitting coach (2005-08).
Hansen himself was fired as Dodgers’ hitting coach on Oct. 12 — eight days after the Mariners let Chambliss go. Undeterred, the Mariners pursued Hansen — a former infielder with Seattle in 2004 and 2005 — to fill the hitting-coach vacancy. They made contact “within hours,” Hansen said.
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“Other teams were involved as the process went on, but Jack (Zduriencik) and Eric were persistent,” he said. “They had been keeping an eye on me since our first interview two years ago. They just wanted to make it happen, and I was more than happy to do the same. I’m really, really excited to be back. It feels good they were tracking me and wanted me back real bad.”
Hansen inherits a Mariners team that has finished last in the majors in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage for three straight seasons. The Dodgers, however, had struggles in 2012, finishing 26th in MLB in runs, 28th in slugging percentage, 29th in homers, and 16th in batting average and on-base percentage.
Hansen was the only Dodgers coach not retained on manager Don Mattingly’s staff.
“It’s a tough job, just because when the team is not hitting, or things aren’t clicking, that’s who they look to, the hitting coach,” he said. “Usually it’s them that has to move on, not the players.”
In a news release, Wedge said, “I think Dave will be a good addition to our big-league staff. He’s had success as both a coach and a player, and has a clear vision of how to help prepare our hitters to be successful.”
“I’m super excited to get in front of this young group of talented Mariners,” Hansen said. “We have young kids that are hungry. With another year of experience under their belt, I think they’re ready to take their game to the next level. I’m excited to be part of that.”
Asked about his hitting philosophy, Hansen laughed and said, “We need a sit-down for that one. In a nutshell, my general approach is that we need to create pressure on the defense. Obviously, our No. 1 goal is to touch home plate, period, and to take the necessary steps as a club to do that. That takes one through nine with the same type of mentality — how can I get on base; how can I drive in runs? How can I do the little things to create runs? Within that, every guy is an individual and they’re going to develop their own approach to execute the right plan.”