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Jay Bell named Pirates hitting coach

The Pittsburgh Pirates today announced the following changes to their Major League Coaching staff: Jay Bell has been named Hitting Coach, Rick Sofield has been named First Base Coach and Dave Jauss has been named Major League Coach. The announcement was made by Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle and Senior Vice President, General Manager Neal Huntington.

Bell, 46, played 18 seasons in the Major Leagues, eight of which were spent in Pittsburgh from 1989-1996, and produced a .265 batting average, 195 home runs and 860 RBI in 2063 career games. A two-time All-Star, Bell retired as a player after appearing in 72 games with the New York Mets in 2003. While playing with Arizona in 2001, Bell scored The winning run in Game Seven of the World Series against the New York Yankees.

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Originally selected by Minnesota in the first round of the 1984 June draft, Bell made his Major League debut with Cleveland in 1986 and homered on the first pitch he saw in his first big league at bat. He was acquired by Pittsburgh in March of 1989 and became the Pirates everyday shortstop a year later. In 1106 career games with the Pirates, Bell hit .269 with 78 homers and 423 RBI. He also produced a .282 average in 20 post-season games with Pittsburgh, which included a .414 (12-for-29) average during the 1991 N.L.C.S. against Atlanta. Bell still holds the Pittsburgh club record for most sacrifice bunts in a season (39 in 1990) and was a Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner and Silver Slugger winner with the Pirates in 1993.

After retiring as a player, Bell served the Arizona Diamondbacks as their Bench Coach in 2005 and 2006 before spending three seasons as a spring training advisor with the club. He spent the 2012 season as the Hitting Coach for the Southern League champion Mobile BayBears, Arizona's Double-A affiliate that was managed by Turner Ward.

Bell is currently coaching the New Zealand national team in New Zealand as the team attempts to qualify for the 2013 World Baseball Classic in March.

The 55-year-old Sofield spent the 2012 season as the manager for the West Virginia Power, Pittsburgh's Class-A affiliate in the South Atlantic League. Sofield brings more than 25 years of coaching, managerial and playing experience to the Major League staff. He will also oversee the club's baserunning and outfield efforts while replacing Luis Silverio, who has been named Senior Advisor, Latin American Operations.

In his new role, Silverio will be instrumental in the development of the club's Latin American players in the minor league system as well as those at the Major League level.

Jauss, 55, spent the 2012 season, his 25th in professional baseball, as a Special Assistant to General Manager Neal Huntington. He served the Mets as their Major League Bench Coach in 2010 after working in the same capacity with the Orioles in 2008-09 and Dodgers in 2006-07. Jauss also spent 10 years in the Boston organization and seven with Montreal after working six seasons as a college head coach.

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