Marlins hire Harris as assistant hitting coach

Member of 2003 World Series title team holds MLB record for pinch-hits

Marlins hire Harris as assistant hitting coach

MIAMI -- Another part of the Marlins' 2003 World Series championship squad is joining Miami's big league coaching staff. Lenny Harris, a valued bench player on the organization's second title team, has been hired as the assistant hitting coach.

Harris, MLB's all-time pinch-hit leader, also offers a left-handed-hitting perspective to complement hitting coach Frank Menechino, a former big league infielder who batted from the right side.

"Once Major League Baseball made it official that we can have a seventh coach on the bench, you've seen clubs who have been going with that extra hitting coach," Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said Wednesday. "You essentially have an extra pitching coach with the bullpen coach, who assists the pitching coach. We wanted to get another person in there, someone who could help Frankie with the pregame routine and everything.

"More importantly, during the game, that assistant can be in the cage, preparing our guys off the bench and being ready to pinch-hit for potentially game-deciding at-bats. Who better to be put in that role than the all-time pinch-hit leader, Lenny Harris?"

Harris, 50, has been working with Miami's Minor Leaguers the past few seasons.

A Miami native, Harris enjoyed an 18-year playing career, which ended in 2005. He was a teammate of Marlins manager Mike Redmond in 2003.

Harris also has big league coaching experience, serving as the Nationals' hitting coach in 2007-08. Additionally, he was a Minor League hitting instructor with the Dodgers.

The Marlins considered hiring an assistant hitting coach in 2014. But at the time, Menechino was joining the organization for the first time, and the club wanted to give him time to establish his own routine.

In recent days, Harris has been at Marlins Park working with some hitters, including Giancarlo Stanton, in the cages.

In his playing days, Harris was a career .269 hitter, but he made his mark as a pitch-hitter. Miami teammates call him "All-Time" for his 212 pinch-hits, the most by any Major Leaguer.

"In Lenny, you have someone who, for the bulk of his career, was a premier pinch-hitter," Hill said. "That insight, and how he prepares and what he did to make himself successful, I think will be invaluable to our pinch-hitters."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.