Jay Bell named to Reds coaching staff

New Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price today announced the club’s Major League coaching staff heading into the 2014 season.

Assistant pitching coach Mack Jenkins has been named bullpen coach, while first base coach Billy Hatcher and catching coach Mike Stefanski will return in those roles. New to the Major League staff this upcoming season will be bench coach Jay Bell, hitting coach Don Long, pitching coach Jeff Pico, third base coach Steve Smith and coach Freddie Benavides.

Bell, 47, spent last season as the Pittsburgh Pirates’ hitting coach under manager Clint Hurdle. He was Arizona manager Bob Melvin’s bench coach from 2005-2006, then from 2007-2009 served 3 seasons as a spring training advisor for the Diamondbacks. In 2012, Bell was the hitting coach for the Southern League champion Mobile Baybears. In 18 Major League seasons, the 2-time National League All-Star infielder hit .265 with 195 HR and 860 RBI for the Cleveland Indians, Pirates, Kansas City Royals, Diamondbacks and New York Mets.

Long, 51, spent the last 3 seasons as minor league hitting coordinator for the Atlanta Braves following a 3-year stint as the Pirates’ Major League hitting coach. Before he went to Pittsburgh, in 1999 he was the Philadelphia Phillies’ roving hitting instructor and from 2000-2007 served as that organization’s minor league hitting coordinator. Long has 11 years of minor league managerial experience, all in the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim organization, and 3 times was voted his league’s Manager of the Year. The former switch-hitter was selected by the San Francisco Giants in the third round of the 1983 draft and played 3 seasons in their farm system.

Pico, 47, spent the last 11 seasons in the Diamondbacks organization, the last 2 as minor league field coordinator. He was Arizona’s minor league pitching coordinator from 2010-2011 and a pitching coach for its affiliates in Class A Yakima (2003), South Bend (2004), Lancaster (2005-2006) and Visalia (2007) and Class AA Mobile (2008-2009). From 1997-2002, Pico was the pitching coach for the independent Western League’s Chico Heat. The righthander went 13-12 with a 4.24 ERA in 26 starts and 87 relief appearances for the Chicago Cubs from 1988-90. In a 4-0 win vs the Reds on May 31, 1988 he became the first Cubs pitcher in 79 years to throw a shutout in his Major League debut.

Smith, 61, is a 38-year veteran of professional baseball. Before joining Price’s staff, he had 14 years’ experience as infield and third base coach for the Seattle Mariners (1996-1999), Texas Rangers (2002-2006), Phillies (2007-08) and Cleveland Indians (2010-2012). Smith also spent time in player development for the Mariners as a manager and infield instructor (1991-1995), was a minor league manager for the San Diego Padres (1984-1989), and from 2001-2002 was the Milwaukee Brewers’ minor league roving infield instructor.

Benavides, 47, will spend his first season on the Major League coaching staff and will focus on infield instruction. He spent the previous 15 years in the Reds’ minor league system, including the last 6 as player development field coordinator. In 2003 he served as a coach with the Major League club from August 5 through the remainder of the season. Benavides played in the majors for the Reds (1991-1992), Rockies (1993) and Expos (1994).