Bucs finalize coaching staff, with three returning

Bucs finalize coaching staff, with three returning

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates have announced their 2011 coaching staff, which includes three returning members from John Russell's previous staff.

Jeff Banister, who served as interim bench coach for the last two months of the season, will stay in the same capacity alongside new manager Clint Hurdle. Banister was the other finalist for the club's managerial job.

Next season will mark Banister's 26th with the organization. He began his affiliation with the Pirates as a player before serving as a coach and manager in the Minor Leagues and also as a field coordinator at both levels.

Also returning to the organization is Ray Searage, who was the team's interim pitching coach after Joe Kerrigan was fired in early August. Searage joined the Major League staff as an extra coach in 2010 after spending the previous seven years as a pitching coach at various levels in the Minor League system. He has spent 33 years in professional baseball.

Bullpen catcher Heberto Andrade will return for his eighth season with the big league club.

The new additions include Nick Leyva (third-base coach), Gregg Ritchie (hitting coach), Euclides Rojas (bullpen coach), Luis Silverio (first-base coach) and Mark Strittmatter (coach).

"We are pleased to have assembled the coaching staff, as I am confident in the skill sets these men bring to our team as well as the quality of individuals professionally and personally," Hurdle said in a release. "Their character, integrity and respect for the tradition of the Pirates combined with their intensity and passion for teaching will have an immediate impact on our ballclub. They will also challenge and sharpen me to become the best manager I can be for our organization and team."

Both Ritchie and Rojas most recently worked as Minor League coordinators in the Pirates' system. Ritchie joined the organization before the '06 season to serve as a Minor League hitting coordinator. Prior to his five years with the Pirates, he spent 10 seasons as a hitting coach in the White Sox Minor League system.

Rojas took over as the Pirates' Latin American field coordinator in 2005 after spending the previous two seasons as a bullpen coach for the Red Sox. Rojas also worked for Pittsburgh in 2002 as a roving Minor League instructor.

In addition to his duties as the team's third-base coach, Leyva becomes the team's fourth different infield instructor in as many seasons. He spent the last three seasons in Toronto as the club's bench coach (2010) and third-base coach (2008-09).

Leyva brings with him Major League managerial experience, having led the Phillies in 1990-91 and for 13 games in 1992. He has also enjoyed stints as a Major League coach with the Cardinals (1984-88), Blue Jays (1994-97, 2008-10) and Milwaukee (2007).

The outfield and baserunning coaching duties will fall on Silverio's shoulders. He comes to Pittsburgh after spending the last 35 years working in the Royals' organization. Six of those seasons (2003-08) were spent on Kansas City's Major League coaching staff. In 2010, Silverio was a Minor League outfield coordinator.

Strittmatter will be an extra coach on Hurdle's staff and will work as the pitchers' hitting coach. He will also assist the catchers and help with the hitting program. Strittmatter was the Rockies' bullpen catcher for the last eight seasons. Much of his time there overlapped Hurdle's stint as Colorado's manager.

Members of the Pirates' 2010 Major League staff that were not asked to return include Tony Beasley, Luis Dorante, Carlos Garcia and Don Long. Beasley spent 18 years with the organization. Dorante, Long and Garcia were all hired prior to the '08 season.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.