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Pirates name Long hitting coach

Pirates name Long hitting coach

PITTSBURGH -- Though he didn't know it, Don Long spent the last two years making a pitch for a Major League job.

Having worked closely with new Pirates manager John Russell in the Phillies' Minor League system for the past two seasons, Long made an impression that Russell didn't forget when he and Pirates general manager Neal Huntington began the process of identifying candidates for the team's new coaching staff.

Russell had liked what he saw of Long, and as a result, the Pirates announced on Tuesday that the 45-year-old Long would be following Russell to Pittsburgh to serve as the Pirates' next hitting coach.

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Though not a household name, Long has an exhaustive and impressive list of coaching experiences at the Minor League levels. He will arrive in Pittsburgh after having spent the past nine years as Philadelphia's Minor League hitting coordinator, meaning that he was responsible for the development of the organization's hitters.

Chase Utley and Ryan Howard developed under the tutelage of Long during their climb to the Majors.

"We are pleased to add Don to our Major League staff," said Huntington, who made the official announcement on Tuesday. "He is a veteran hitting instructor who will positively impact our hitters' mental approaches, game plans and swing mechanics. Don is a great communicator and a tireless worker who has had successful results wherever he has been."

Before joining the Phillies organization, Long spent 12 years working in the Angels Minor League system in a variety of managing capacities. A three-time manager of the year, Long managed at all three Minor League levels and led Class A Quad City to the Midwest League Championship in 1990.

Long's first taste of coaching came just prior to his tenure with the Angels, as he served as the head coach at Seattle University for one season. His collegiate coaching career followed a three-year professional career with San Francisco, during which Long hit .251 in three Minor League seasons.

With Tuesday's announcement, the Pirates have now filled five of Russell's six coaching vacancies. Long will be joining a staff that already includes Gary Varsho (bench coach), Tony Beasley (third-base coach), Luis Dorante (bullpen coach) and Jeff Andrews (pitching coach).

Huntington reiterated last week that the search for the team's next first-base coach would take longer than originally anticipated, meaning that a decision may not come for a while longer.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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