Reds name Jacoby hitting coach

Reds name Jacoby as new hitting coach

Brook Jacoby took on the tall order of filling in for renowned hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo last year in Texas. Now, he has a full-time Major League coaching job of his own.

The Reds named the longtime Major League third baseman and veteran hitting instructor as their new hitting coach on Friday, filling one of two openings on manager Jerry Narron's staff for 2007.

It's a return to the Reds organization for Jacoby, who was the hitting instructor at Triple-A Louisville in 2001-02. He was there when a young slugger named Adam Dunn passed through on his way to the big leagues. Jacoby returns to the big-league level to take over an offense that struggled down the stretch last year.

"The one thing that impressed me," Narron said, "was when we were having our interview and just talking hitting, he was very well prepared. He knew what our deficiencies were in situational hitting and hitting with runners in scoring position, and what we had to do."

A good part of that plan revolves around teachings he picked up working alongside Jaramillo.

"Jerry and I talked to a lot of people," general manager Wayne Krivsky said. "Once we met with him, I liked his demeanor. I think he's got a nice approach, a calm approach, but at the same time, I think he can get his point across in whatever way works. And, obviously, he teaches similar things to what Rudy Jaramillo does. That was also attractive, who his mentor has been."

Jacoby joined the Rangers after the 2002 season and spent the last four years there, first coaching hitters in the Arizona Fall League before becoming the Rangers' Minor League hitting coordinator. Getting those teachings across to Cincinnati's hitters will be Jacoby's next challenge.

"First and foremost is try to keep it simple," Jacoby said. "We have some absolutes that we talk about that worked well for us over in Texas, and we try to apply those to the individual swing. I'm not looking to clone guys, but there are common things to a good swing.

"Really, it's very simple. Just basically trying to get these guys into a strong hitting position on time, getting them to see the ball. Pitch recognition's a tough thing to do in this game."

Jacoby succeeds Chris Chambliss, whose contract wasn't renewed after three seasons. But Jacoby learned about connecting with new faces last spring filling in for Jaramillo, who missed two months of last season while recovering from prostate surgery.

Jacoby went from working with Rangers hitters in Spring Training to overseeing them on a daily basis. He offered individual instruction and advanced scouting sessions on teams coming in, and he hopes to build a similar connection early on with his new pupils.

"I'm going to do my best to get it done and get it figured out in Spring Training," Jacoby said. "First of all, they've got to trust me. I've got to build that trust and win them over. Again, keep it simple early but also get the points across that we need to get across, and don't let up on those."

His offseason task will be to brush up on the hitters by watching video. That includes Dunn, who enjoyed his third straight 40-homer season but whose .234 batting average and .365 on-base percentage were his lowest in any season with at least 120 games played. He batted under .200 over the final two months of the season, joining many Reds in late-season struggles.

Asked whether Dunn's high strikeout totals are an issue, Jacoby was balanced about it.

"I consider 194 of them a little bit of an issue," he said. "If he were to put the ball in play a little more, I'm sure it would mean more RBIs and possibly some more hits. It might be an approach with two strikes, and it might be a mechanical thing with him."

As a player, Jacoby was a two-time All-Star during an 11-year Major League career, nine of those seasons spent with the Cleveland Indians. He secured a full-time big-league starting job in 1984 before batting .300 with 32 homers and 69 RBIs in 1987.

The move leaves the Reds a pitching coach short of filling out their staff.

Jason Beck is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.