PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Pirates moved one step closer to finalizing their big-league coaching staff
on Friday by naming Jeff Manto hitting coach.
Manto, 41, joined the Pirates as a roving hitting instructor on Oct. 17, 2002, after managing Philadelphia's Class A Lakewood team in 2002 and serving as a coach with Lakewood in 2001. He played nine seasons in the Major Leagues from 1990-2000 with the Indians, Phillies, Orioles, Red Sox, Mariners, Tigers, Yankees and Rockies. In 289 Major League games, Manto batted .230 with 31 home runs and 97 RBIs.
Manto's only previous big league coaching experience came when he was added to the Pirates staff last September at the conclusion of the Minor League season.
"Jeff has done a real nice job for us since he has been here," said Pirates GM Dave Littlefield. "He's a very hard worker. He has an effervescent personality that is combined with the fact that he's had a lot of experience at a variety of levels. He understands the Major Leagues. But yet, particularly with a lot of young players that we have, he relates well to the group that we have."
Manto is the first member of new manager Jim Tracy's coaching staff to be promoted from within the organization. Although the Pirates had considered several external options, Manto's experience working with many of the Bucs' current young hitters while they were in the Minor Leagues gave him the edge in the hiring process.
"Jim Tracy and I talked about a lot of different candidates and talked to some different people," said Littlefield. "We certainly researched thoroughly in regards to people we had interest in. As we evaluated a variety of people we thought were out there and were available, we felt that ultimately Jeff was the best choice."
"He's worked with a lot of our hitters who have come through the Minor Leagues and been successful," Littlefield added. "That's something that did come into play. I think this is a guy who has a very bright future. He's very well-respected."
With the addition of Manto, the third base coach position is the last remaining vacancy on the Bucs' big-league coaching staff.
Ed Eagle is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.