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Shildt's Padres coaching staff won't have traditional bench coach

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SAN DIEGO (AP) — New San Diego Padres manager Mike Shildt won't have a traditional bench coach on his staff but will utilize the input of several coaches during games.

The Padres unveiled the full staff Wednesday, including new hitting coach Victor Rodriguez, who spent the previous six seasons as assistant hitting coach for the Cleveland Guardians. Pitching coach Ruben Niebla returns for his third season.

Newcomer Ryan Barba has the title of major league field coordinator and will perform many of the functions of a traditional bench coach, Shildt said. Brian Esposito will have the title of catching coach and game strategy assistant.

Shildt was hired Nov. 21. He replaced Bob Melvin, who was hired away by his hometown San Francisco Giants on Oct. 25 with a year left on his contract with the Padres, ending a fractured two-year relationship with general manager A.J. Preller. The Padres flopped last year and failed to make the playoffs despite having the third-highest payroll in the majors, $258 million on opening day.

Shildt, a former manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, has six former minor league managers on his staff. The cost-cutting Padres, who dealt All-Star slugger Juan Soto to the New York Yankees last month, are expected to bring up some of their top prospects this season.

One of those former minor league managers, San Diego native Mike McCoy, will serve as one of two assistant hitting coaches. McCoy has been in the organization for the last eight years, including as manager of Single-A Lake Elsinore in 2021. A former Padres farmhand, he played parts of four big league seasons with Colorado (2009) and Toronto (2010-12).

McCoy attended Grossmont High in suburban El Cajon, the same school that produced Padres right-hander Joe Musgrove, and then played at the University of San Diego.