RICK ECKSTEIN is in his first season as Pittsburgh's Hitting Coach, having been named to the position on November 2. Eckstein spent the last two seasons serving the Minnesota Twins as their Minor League Hitting Coordinator. He worked previously with the Twins in 2000 as the club's bullpen catcher and in 2001 as the minor league strength and conditioning coordinator. Prior to joining the Twins in 2017, Rick spent two years as an assistant coach with the University of Kentucky baseball team. He spent the 2014 season as the player information coach, assistant hitting coach and an advanced scout for the Los Angeles Angels. Between 2009 and 2013, Eckstein was the Hitting Coach for the Washington Nationals. During the 2012 N.L. East Championship season, the Nats ranked second among N.L. teams in home runs (194), third in slugging percentage (.428) and fourth in OPS (.750) and batting average (.261). Eckstein's professional baseball coaching career began in 2004 when he served as the hitting coach with Double-A Harrisburg in the Montreal farm system. He spent a total of three seasons in the Expos organization (2004-06) before moving onto Triple-A Memphis in the St. Louis farm system in 2007. His first year in the Washington organization was spent at Triple-A Columbus in 2008. He also spent 2008 as the Hitting Coach for the Peoria Saguaros in the Arizona Fall League. In addition to his coaching experience within professional baseball, Eckstein was affiliated with USA Baseball for four years between 2005 and 2008. He served as bullpen coach for the United States during the 2006 World Baseball Classic and as bench coach for the Bronze-Medal winning U.S. Olympic team at the 2008 Beijing Games. His other international coaching experiences include serving as the Bench/Third Base Coach in 2005 at the IBAF Baseball World Cup in the Netherlands, the 2006 Americas Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Cuba and the IBAF Baseball World Cup in Japan. He also served as a bullpen catcher for MLB's Japan All-Star Tour in 2002 and for the N.L. at the 2005 MLB All-Star Game in Detroit. Upon graduating from the University of Florida in 1997, Rick served as a volunteer assistant at UF from 1997-98 under head coach Andy Lopez. He also worked as an assistant coach at Oviedo (FL) High School (1998-2000), Seminole Community College in Sanford, FL, (2000)and at the University of Georgia (2002-03).
PERSONAL: Rick H. Eckstein...Wife's name is Caroline... Has two daughters; Isabel (5/7/13) and Grace (10/7/15)... Is a 1991 graduate of Seminole (FL) High School, where he played baseball and golf...Played three seasons of baseball at Seminole Community College (1992-94)... Graduated from the University of Florida in 1997, where he played alongside his brother David in 1996 and was also a teammate of Josh Fogg...Is an advocate for "Donate Life" and donated a kidney to his brother Ken in 2010.