The Angels hired former Washington Nationals hitting coach Rick Eckstein as their major league player information coach, a newly created position that will combine elements of scouting and on-field coaching.
In a team-issued release, Manager Mike Scioscia said Eckstein, 40, “will integrate scouting reports and have input on the defensive side of our team.” Eckstein will also be involved with “pre-game preparation,” though his role was not specified.
Eckstein, the brother of former Angels shortstop David Eckstein, spent almost five years as Washington’s hitting coach before being fired last July. The underachieving Nationals were two games under .500 and had the second-lowest scoring offense in the major leagues at the time.
But Eckstein also had a hand in Washington hitting a franchise-record 194 home runs and ranking near the top of the National League in several offensive categories in 2012, the year the Nationals won their first NL East title.
Eckstein has spent 17 years in professional baseball with the Tampa Bay, Minnesota, St. Louis and Montreal/Washington organizations. He also served as the bench coach for the bronze-medal winning U.S. team at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and as bench coach for the U.S. during the 2006 World Baseball Classic.