Dascenzo handles coaching change with grace

Dascenzo handles coaching change with grace

CHICAGO -- The Cubs plan on taking advantage of Doug Dascenzo's expertise in baserunning and the outfield, and they will have him teach at both the Major and Minor League levels in the organization.

Dascenzo was bumped from manager Joe Maddon's coaching staff to make room for Dave Martinez, who was hired Thursday as the bench coach. Brandon Hyde, who was the bench coach in 2014, will move to first-base coach, which was to have been Dascenzo's job in 2015.

Now, Dascenzo will be the Cubs' outfield and baserunning coordinator.

"He's a Cub -- he handled it with complete grace," Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said of Dascenzo, who played for the Cubs from 1988-92.

Hyde will continue to run Spring Training, but Martinez moves back into the familiar spot next to Maddon, returning to the team that drafted him in 1983.

"Obviously, he's Joe's right-hand man, and I think that's proved to be a winning combination in the past and we're excited to have both guys," Epstein said of Martinez, whom the Cubs had interviewed for the manager's job prior to the 2014 season.

Epstein said he liked Martinez because he has "an edge to him as a coach" and is able to communicate well with players. Dascenzo will still spend significant time with the big league team, Epstein said.

New Cubs hitting coach John Mallee will get to work with Javier Baez, joining the infielder in Puerto Rico. Baez is expected to begin playing for Santurce on Dec. 11, and he will start four to five games a week, Epstein said.

"Javy's had some time away from the game and decompressed a little bit, and I think it's certainly a testament to his work ethic and his desire to improve that he's out there getting ready to play winter ball and get ready for the season," Epstein said.

There's no set number of at-bats for Baez, who batted .169 in 52 games with the Cubs this past season, striking out 95 times in 213 at-bats.

The Cubs' staff will have a chance to see Kris Bryant at the Winter Meetings as well. The third baseman, named the Minor League Player of the Year by several organizations, including MLB.com, will be honored as the top home run hitter in the Minors. Epstein said Bryant, who belted 43 home runs last season at Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa, has built a batting cage at his home and was working on his swing there this offseason.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.