The Detroit Tigers added the final piece to Brad Ausmus' coaching staff by naming former third baseman Darnell Coles assistant hitting coach. Coles will work under Wally Joyner, who was recently hired as the team's new hitting coach.
Manager Brad Ausmus released a statement in regard to his latest hire:
"Darnell’s experience and perspective is a good complement to Wally Joyner’s approach. We’re pleased to have him join our coaching staff."
Coles has a good deal of minor league coaching experience, getting his start in the Washington Nationals' system in 2006 as a hitting instructor. He advanced on to managerial jobs for Washington, tasking on the short-season Vermont Lake Monsters in 2007 and managing the Single-A Hagerstown Suns in 2008. He also served as the hitting coach for Triple-A Syracuse in 2009, also in the Nationals' system.
Coles joined the Milwaukee Brewers in 2010, spending two seasons as a their as minor league hitting coordinator.
Coles moved back to managing in 2012, spending the last two years running the Brewers' Double-A affiliate, the Huntsville Stars. This past October Coles had agreed to become the new manager of the Brewers' Triple-A team in Nashville. But the chance to coach in the major leagues trumps managing at a lower level.
Coles is familiar to an earlier generation of Tigers fans. After being acquired from the Seattle Mariners for Rich Monteleone, Coles became Detroit's starting third baseman in 1986 at the age of 24. He went on to have a career season, hitting .273/.333/.453 with 20 home runs and 86 RBIs. The 1986 Tigers were known for their powerful infield, Coles joining catcher Lance Parrish (22), first baseman Darrell Evans (29), second baseman Lou Whitaker (20) and shortstop Alan Trammell (21) with 20 or more home runs.
Coles never topped those numbers, slumping badly in 1987 while clashing with teammates and manager Sparky Anderson. The most famous incident being a frustrated Coles heaving an infield ball over the roof of Tiger Stadium from his third base position. In August of 1987, the .181 hitting Coles was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates, ending his short stint as a Tiger.
Coles would go on to have a journeyman 14 year career playing for eight different franchises, ending in 1997 with the Colorado Rockies. He would hit .245 for his career, with 75 home runs and 368 RBIs in 957 games.
The Tigers coaching staff is now complete, including returning bench coach Gene Lamont and pitching coach Jeff Jones. They are joined by first base/infield/base running coach Omar Vizquel, third base coach/outfield instructor Dave Clark; hitting coach Wally Joyner, assistant hitting coach Coles, bullpen coach Mick Billmeyer and defensive coordinator Matt Martin.