Wakamatsu unveiled the first two members of his 2009 staff on Monday: bench coach Ty Van Burkleo and first-base coach Lee Tinsley.

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New Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said he views his coaching hires as an opportunity to “change the culture” of a team that lost 101 games last season.

Wakamatsu unveiled the first two members of his 2009 staff on Monday: bench coach Ty Van Burkleo and first-base coach Lee Tinsley.

Van Burkleo, 46, comes from the Oakland Athletics, where he was hitting coach the past two seasons. Tinsley, 38, had two stints with the M’s as a player. He had been first-base coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks from 2006-08.

Wakamatsu’s other coaches are expected to be named later in the week. General manager Jack Zduriencik is now expediting the process of asking permission to speak to candidates from other organizations.

“Jack and I are going over several different candidates,” Wakamatsu said. “We’ll try to finalize this as fast as we can. We want to start putting our plan and our team together and move forward.”

Dom Chiti, formerly bullpen coach in Texas before being fired last August as part of a Rangers coaching purge, has been rumored to be the front-runner for pitching coach. He is currently a special assistant to Atlanta general manager Frank Wren.

However, Chiti said Monday, “I haven’t heard anything. I called Don when he got the job to congratulate him. Other than that, any information I’ve gotten has been through reading articles. I don’t know anything more than you.”

Jose Castro, who took over as Seattle’s hitting coach when manager John McLaren was fired in June, is the only holdover coach expected to be retained.

Mike Brumley, who managed the Dodgers’ Ogden rookie affiliate last season, is a leading candidate to become third-base coach. He has a background with Wakamatsu in both Anaheim and Texas. Rick Adair, the Rangers’ minor-league pitching coordinator — and a third-round Seattle draft pick in 1979 — has been a rumored candidate to become bullpen coach.

When Wakamatsu was minor-league coordinator for the Angels in 2001-02, Van Burkleo and Tinsley were instructors in their farm system. He also worked with Van Burkleo in Arizona and Texas.

“He’s someone who sees the whole game, and a guy I totally trust,” Wakamatsu said of Van Burkleo.

Van Burkleo said he “can’t wait” to begin his new post.

“The prospect of going to Seattle, being with Don, making something of it for the long haul, and relocating my family, is exciting for us,” he said. “Seattle has always been one of my favorite cities.”

Van Burkleo said that despite his friendship with Wakamatsu, he would have no hesitation disagreeing with him in his role as bench coach.

“Don said to me the other day, we don’t always have the same ideas, but one thing he likes about me, about this relationship, is I can bounce things off him, and get his brain working in different directions,” Van Burkleo said.

Tinsley said he has fond memories of his 60-game stint with the Mariners, which included stays in 1993 and 1997.

“I remember being with a really good bunch of people,” he said. “It was a family-type atmosphere. I have really good memories of the town, the people there, and the fans, definitely.”

Tinsley said his familiarity with current front-office personnel, such as Chuck Armstrong and Lee Pelekoudas, eased his decision — one he had to clear with Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin.

“I talked to Bob extensively, and he was very accepting of it,” Tinsley said. “He just told me if it was a good opportunity, he wouldn’t hold me back.”

Wakamatsu said of Tinsley, “We have a great relationship. I respect him as a person, and just as much as a baseball person. He’s off-the-charts intelligent in how he sees the game.

“One of the criteria Jack and I discussed was to bring in [overall] baseball people first, and not just a specialized person. We want to create an environment on the staff where everyone contributes.”

Larry Stone: 206-464-3146 or lstone@seattletimes.com. More columns at www.seattletimes.com/columnists