ROCKIES TAB FORMER VOL ALAN COCKRELL AS HITTING COACH

Cockrell has worked for the Rockies organization since 1998

Alan Cockrell

Alan Cockrell

Nov. 7, 2006

By Thomas Harding / MLB.com

DENVER -- The Rockies stayed within their Minor League system and hired Alan Cockrell as hitting coach and Glenallen Hill as first-base coach, the team announced on Tuesday.

Cockrell, 43, has worked for the Rockies organization since 1998, including most of the last four seasons as the hitting coach for Triple-A Colorado Springs. Hill, 41, an outfielder and standout pinch-hitter while playing in 13 Major League seasons, had been a hitting coach for the Rockies at the high Class A level before managing at Modesto the last three months of 2006 after Chad Kreuter was named head baseball coach at Southern Cal.

The pair replace former hitting coach Duane Espy, who was reassigned within the Rockies' Minor League system, and former first-base coach Dave Collins, who resigned to pursue other baseball opportunities closer to his Cincinnati home.

Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said recently that the organization's candidates were desirable enough that someone from the outside would have had to "knock our socks off." Cockrell and Hill, who also will oversee baserunning and instruct outfielders, were hired to help the Rockies' offense do just that.

Cockrell was the Rockies' hitting coach for five months in 2003. Hurdle had been promoted from hitting coach to manager, and Cockrell filled in as hitting coach. After the season, Hurdle sent Cockrell back to Colorado Springs for more experience.

Now Cockrell returns having worked with the Rockies' emerging hitters, such as Matt Holliday, Garrett Atkins and Brad Hawpe. His familiarity should help a mostly homegrown lineup.

"I was very fortunate to have the opportunity the first time, because it made me realize that I had a lot of things I needed to improve upon," Cockrell said. "I worked on myself, that was the first issue I needed to tackle, and as I became more confident and gained more experience, things just began to fall into place."

Cockrell helped the Rockies' staff at the end of the 2006 season and drew positive reviews from players, some of whom went to him for help through slumps.

"That played into it," Hurdle said. "There is a familiarity, and certainly it helps that he doesn't have to spend the first month or two getting to know the guys and figuring out what they can do and what they need to work on."

Hill said he aspired to work as a coach after his playing career, and welcomed the opportunity to break into the Rockies' organization at the Class A level.

"I felt it was important that I become a part of Minor League development so I could have a clear understanding of how it works, from the bottom to the top," Hill said.

The role will essentially be a teaching one for Hill. The Rockies finished with a total of 87 stolen bases last season and often were guilty of tentativeness and indecision on the basepaths. The 2007 team will take the field with much the same personnel as it had in 2006, and Hill will be charged with helping a slightly more experienced club improve.

"He has studied, he has a lot of valuable playing experience and he played with some of the best ballplayers in the game," Hurdle said. "He learned from being a hitting coach and a manager, and that has sharpened his ability. He learned the game from a different perspective."

The two positions mark the most changeover since 2003, Hurdle's first full season of managing. More change also is possible. Bench coach Jamie Quirk interviewed on Tuesday for the vacant Athletics managing position.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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