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Cards retain Duncan, McGwire, Oquendo

Cards retain Duncan, McGwire, Oquendo

Cards retain Duncan, McGwire, Oquendo
ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals already bucked tradition when they hired new manager Mike Matheny. So it's no big surprise that they did the same when assembling Matheny's coaching staff. The 2012 Cards staff will look pretty similar to the one that predecessor Tony La Russa had, but there will be a couple of changes.

Mike Aldrete replaces Joe Pettini as the bench coach, while Chris Maloney takes over for Dave McKay as the first-base coach. The rest of the staff returns: pitching coach Dave Duncan, hitting coach Mark McGwire, third-base coach Jose Oquendo and bullpen coach Derek Lilliquist. No replacement was named for Aldrete as the assistant hitting coach, and the club did not divulge the duration of the coaches' contracts.

"Just like our players, the Cardinals' organization places a high level of expectation on its coaches," Matheny said in the club's official release Wednesday. "I have great admiration for the work these men have done throughout their careers, and we will continue to invest in the preparation, coaching and leadership necessary to build upon that success."

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Perhaps most notable is the installation of Aldrete, formerly the club's assistant hitting coach, into a uniformed role as bench coach. Conventional wisdom dictates that a rookie manager nearly always has an experienced bench coach, perhaps even a former manager, but that will not be the case for the Cardinals in 2012.

Aldrete, 50, spent three years as a uniformed coach with the Mariners and D-backs, but has never been a manager or even a bench coach. Pettini had been the Cardinals' bench coach for 10 seasons. Aldrete had been widely reported to be headed to the A's to serve as their hitting coach. For the past three seasons, Aldrete worked extensively with hitters, but did not dress out in uniform during games.

Maloney, also 50, will be on a Major League staff for the first time. He had been the manager at Triple-A Memphis for the past five years and has worked in the Cards' system for 17 seasons. He was one of six who interviewed to be La Russa's successor.

Pettini and McKay will be reassigned within the organization, though it is unclear in what capacity.

Duncan, who was the only coach under contract, returns for a 17th season with the Cardinals. Oquendo also returns after interviewing for the managing job, as do McGwire and Lilliquist.

"Once we identified Mike as our new manager," general manager John Mozeliak said in the release, "he quickly went to work in assembling a coaching staff that offers a wealth of experience and leadership, but he also looked at areas where we could provide growth opportunities for key members from within the organization. We are extremely excited about our staff for next season."

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Obviously, You're Not a Golfer and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewHLeach. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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