Coaching staff to stay intact for next season

Coaching staff to stay intact for next season

Coaching staff to stay intact for next season
SEATTLE -- Angels owner Arte Moreno already has declared that general manager Jerry Dipoto and manager Mike Scioscia will return next year. On Tuesday, Dipoto confirmed that Scioscia's entire coaching staff will also return in 2013.

That includes pitching coach Mike Butcher, whose job status came into question as the starting rotation sputtered early in the second half, and hitting coach Jim Eppard, who was called up from Triple-A after the dismissal of Mickey Hatcher in mid-May.

"This group's been together for a long time," Dipoto said. "They trust each other, they work hard. At the end of the day, one win or one loss, one defining moment, should not define the way a group, a team, an organization is looked upon. We're here for the long haul, and this is a team that has the ability to sustain into the future."

Besides Butcher and Eppard, Scioscia's coaching staff includes third-base coach Dino Ebel (on staff since replacing ex-bench coach Joe Maddon for the 2006 season), first-base coach Alfredo Griffin (there during all 13 years of Scioscia's tenure), bench coach Rob Picciolo and bullpen coach Steve Soliz (both finishing Year 2 in their current roles).

Butcher is finishing up his sixth season as pitching coach, after replacing current Padres manager Bud Black in November 2006. The Angels' pitching staff had the best ERA in the American League last year (3.57). This year, though, a thin bullpen and a surprising rough stretch by the rotation has them tied for seventh with the Rangers (3.96 ERA).

Eppard was appointed on May 16. Since then, the Angels lead the Majors in batting average (.282), on-base percentage (.341), slugging percentage (.451) and runs scored (632), putting them on pace to top all of last year's totals.

"The terms I used at the time [of the Hatcher dismissal] was that sometimes you need a different voice, you need to change the message a little bit, and I think Eppy has done a terrific job of that," Dipoto said. "He has a wonderful relationship with the players, I think the players trust him. His message has been good. The results have been very good."