Hillman likely to become Dodgers' bench coach

Hillman likely to become Dodgers' bench coach

LOS ANGELES -- Former Kansas City Royals manager Trey Hillman has emerged as the front-runner to be bench coach on Dodgers rookie manager Don Mattingly's staff, according to baseball sources.

The 47-year-old Hillman, who managed the Royals from 2008 until he was replaced by Ned Yost on May 13, 2010, was seen with Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti and assistant general manager Kim Ng watching an Arizona Fall League game Wednesday.

Hillman also managed the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters in the Japan League to a championship in 2006, leading to his hiring by the Royals, where he was popular with his players though the club went 152-207.

His link to Mattingly would be having managed 12 seasons in the Yankees Minor League system from 1990-2001. He spent three years playing in the Cleveland Minor League system before moving into scouting.

Settling on Hillman to provide Mattingly with an experienced manager to lean on would firm up the anticipated coaching staff.

Although the Dodgers will not discuss any coaches until they are all set, here's how the staff is shaping up: Hillman, bench coach; Rick Honeycutt, pitching coach; Jeff Pentland, Chili Davis, Manny Mota, hitting coaches; Tim Wallach, third-base coach; Ken Howell, bullpen coach.

There probably won't be an official announcement as long as Wallach is in play as a managerial candidate. He has interviewed for the vacancy in Milwaukee and recently signed a two-year deal with the Dodgers that allows him to interview for manager jobs with a limited list of clubs.

Larry Bowa, who came with Mattingly to be Joe Torre's third-base coach, appeared to be out of the picture for Mattingly's staff and confirmed as much on Dan Patrick's radio show on Wednesday.

It's unclear who the Dodgers are considering as first-base coach, but it figures to be someone well-regarded in base running. Mariano Duncan, who has had the role since 2006, was told he could seek a Major League job elsewhere and, if he didn't find one, would have a role in the organization, but not likely on the Major League staff.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.