The New York Yankees today announced that Alan Cockrell has been named hitting coach and Marcus Thames has been named assistant hitting coach.
Cockrell, 52, was the Yankees' assistant hitting coach during the 2015 season as the club ranked second in the Majors in runs scored (764), fourth in home runs (212) and slugging percentage (.421), and fifth in OPS (.744). He is currently in his fourth stint as a member of a Major League coaching staff, also having served as hitting coach for Seattle (2009-10) and Colorado (2002 and '07-08). In 2007, the National League-champion Rockies led their league in batting average (.280), hits (1,591) and on-base percentage (.354). Cockrell was also a minor league roving hitting coordinator for Colorado in 2001 and hitting coach for their Triple-A affiliate from 2003-06. He served as manager for Single-A Salem in 2000 and rookie-level Portland in 1999. He also served as a roving hitting coordinator in the Diamondbacks organization from 2011-13.
Cockrell was born in Kansas City, Kans., and attended the University of Tennessee, where he was an All-American baseball player. He was also the Vols' starting quarterback for two seasons (1982-83) and helped lead the team to a Citrus Bowl victory in 1983.
The former outfielder was selected by San Francisco as the ninth overall selection in the 1984 First-Year Player Draft. He played in 1,414 career minor league games from 1984-96, batting .278 (1,322-for-4,760). Cockrell made his Major League debut with the Rockies in 1996, playing in nine games and batting .250 (2-for-8) in his final professional playing season.
Thames, 38, joins the Yankees' Major League staff after three seasons as a Yankees minor league hitting coach. Following stints as the hitting coach for Single-A Tampa in 2013 and Double-A Trenton in 2014, Thames served in the same role with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2015, helping the RailRiders lead the International League in runs scored (622), batting average (.271) and OPS (.727).
The Mississippi native was selected by the Yankees in the 30th round of the 1996 First-Year Player Draft and played in parts of 10 Major League seasons with the Yankees (2002, '10), Texas (2003), Detroit (2004-09) and Los Angeles-NL (2011), combining to hit .246 with 115 home runs and 301 runs batted in. Thames enjoyed his best season in 2006, hitting a career-high 26 home runs in 110 games with the AL-champion Tigers.