MLB

Hensley Meulens hired as hitting coach, Warren Schaeffer as third-base coach for Rockies

The Rockies needed to make some changes to recharge their stagnant, road-challenged offense.

To that end, the club hired Hensley Meulens as their new hitting coach and promoted Warren Schaeffer to third-base coach. Schaeffer had managed at Triple-A Albuquerque the past two seasons. The club announced the moves on Monday.

Meulens replaces Dave Magadan and Schaffer replaces Stu Cole, the two coaches who were not retained after the Rockies’ finished the 2022 season last in the National League West with a 68-94 record.

Meulens, 55, helped the Giants win three World Series championships as hitting coach from 2010-17 and was the bench coach in 2018-19. He interviewed for the Yankees’ managerial post after the 2017 season, served as the Mets’ bench coach in 2020, and then joined the Yankees’ staff in 2022 as the assistant hitting coach.

Nicknamed “Bam Bam,” Meulens faces a big challenge in Colorado. The Rockies hit .254 last season, the sixth-highest average in the majors but the second-lowest in franchise history behind the 2021 club’s .249 average. Colorado finished the season with a .398 slugging percentage, the first time in franchise history that it finished with a slugging percentage below .400.

Plus, despite playing their home games at hitter-friendly Coors Field, the Rockies’ 149 home runs as a team were tied for the eighth-fewest in the majors and were the second-fewest in any full season in franchise history behind the 1993 club (142).

Task No. 1 for Meulens is to boost the Rockies’ tepid road offense. The club led the majors with a .803 OPS at home but ranked last in the majors on the road (.621). Colorado scored just 242 runs on the road, the worst in the majors and their lowest for a full season in franchise history. They also hit an MLB-low 51 home runs away from Coors, the second-fewest in franchise history for a full season behind the 2000 team (49).

Meulens, who runs the Dutch Antilles Baseball Academy in his native Curaçao, will be assisted by Andy González and P.J. Pilitieri, who were assistants under Magadan.

Schaeffer, 37, played at Virginia Tech before spending six seasons as a minor-league infielder in the Rockies’ system. He began coaching in 2013, and he has managed in Rockies’ farm system for seven seasons. Schaeffer is currently managing the Salt River Raptors in the Arizona Fall League.

Schaeffer will coach third base during games and be the main coach for infield defense.

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