Pi­rates hire Twins bench coach Shel­ton as man­ager

Ex-Jay re­places Hur­dle, who was fired af­ter sea­son that was marred by is­sues both on and off the field

The Standard (St. Catharines) - - Sports - WILL GRAVES

PITTS­BURGH — The Pi­rates’ lead­er­ship over­haul is com­plete.

Pitts­burgh hired long­time Ma­jor League Base­ball coach Derek Shel­ton as man­ager on Wed­nes­day, the fi­nal piece of a new-look lead­er­ship fol­low­ing a last-place fin­ish in the National League Cen­tral. Shel­ton re­places Clint Hur­dle, who was fired on the fi­nal day of the reg­u­lar sea­son.

“We are con­fi­dent Derek will help lead an elite play­ing and coach­ing en­vi­ron­ment at the ma­jor league level and be a true part­ner to all of base­ball op­er­a­tions,” Pitts­burgh gen­eral man­ager Ben Cher­ing­ton said in a state­ment.

Shel­ton was the third high­pro­file hire by the Pi­rates since the end of a 69-93 sea­son marred by is­sues both on and off the field. Travis Wil­liams re­placed Frank Coonelly as pres­i­dent in Oc­to­ber. The team brought in Cher­ing­ton this month af­ter Neal Hunt­ing­ton was let go af­ter 12 years on the job.

Shel­ton filled the eighth and fi­nal man­ager va­cancy, join­ing Joe Mad­don (L.A. An­gels), Joe Gi­rardi (Philadel­phia), David Ross (Chicago Cubs), Jayce Tin­gler (San Diego), Mike Ma­theny (Kansas City), Car­los Bel­tran (New York Mets) and Gabe Kapler (San Fran­cisco). Bel­tran was the only mi­nor­ity hired for a man­ager open­ing.

The 49-year-old Shel­ton spent the last two sea­sons as the bench coach for the Min­nesota Twins. Shel­ton’s pre­vi­ous stops in­clude a sea­son as the qual­ity con­trol coach for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2017 — his ten­ure over­lap­ping Cher­ing­ton’s stint as Toronto’s vice-pres­i­dent of base­ball op­er­a­tions — and seven years as a hit­ting coach with the Tampa Bay Rays. Shel­ton broke into the ma­jors as hit­ting coach for the Cleve­land In­di­ans from 2005-09.

Shel­ton’ s man­age­rial ex­pe­ri­ence is lim­ited to mi­nor league stints in the Yan­kees or­ga­ni­za­tion in the early 2000s.

“It is go­ing to be an ex­cit­ing change of cul­ture in our club­house,” Shel­ton said in a state­ment.

“It is go­ing to be a fun en­vi­ron­ment in which we will all be held ac­count­able to each other.

It will be a player-cen­tric cul­ture built on strong com­mu­ni­ca­tion and re­la­tion­ships with our play­ers, our staff and the en­tire or­ga­ni­za­tion.”

Shel­ton in­her­its a team that fin­ished be­low .500 in three of the last four sea­sons, though the on-field prod­uct dur­ing a mis­er­able 25-48 sec­ond half proved to be just part of Pitts­burgh’s is­sues. Re­liev­ers Keone Kela and Kyle Crick were sus­pended for their roles in sep­a­rate dust-ups with mem­bers of the team’s coach­ing and sup­port staff. Closer Felipe Vazquez was ar­rested in Septem­ber on felony charges stem­ming from an al­leged il­le­gal sex­ual re­la­tion­ship with a mi­nor.

Derek Shel­ton

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