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Report: Brewers hire Cubs assistant Andy Haines as new hitting coach

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The former Cubs hitting instructor has ties to Christian Yelich

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Miami Marlins Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

A little more than a week after making sweeping changes to their coaching staff, the Milwaukee Brewers are starting to fill some of those positions.

Jon Heyman reports former Chicago Cubs assistant hitting coach Andy Haines will replace Darnell Coles as Craig Counsell’s hitting coach.

Haines was promoted to assistant hitting coach with the Cubs last season after spending the two previous years as the organization’s minor league hitting coordinator. He was brought onto Joe Maddon’s staff after a similar coaching staff shakeup following the Cubs’ loss to the Dodgers in the 2017 NLCS. Chili Davis was brought in as Chicago’s new head hitting coach prior to the 2018 season, but was fired after just one year.

It appears Haines was allowed to pursue other opportunities after that, similar to how the Brewers told assistant hitting coach Jason Lane he was free to look for work elsewhere when Coles announced he was resigning.

Coles eventually reached an agreement with the Arizona Diamondbacks this week to become their new hitting coach.

Prior to Haines’ work in the Cubs organization, he was a manager in the Miami Marlins system for 7 years, including managing Christian Yelich at two levels in the minors.

It’s hard to assess how much of an impact Haines had as an assistant for Chicago, but under Chili Davis, the Cubs saw their offense struggle to a level they haven’t seen in quite a few years — and a level that was deemed unacceptable for a team that has the likes of Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Schwarber, Javier Baez, and Willson Contreras.

As Tom Haudricourt notes, this isn’t the first time David Stearns and Craig Counsell have found a coaching staff hire in the Cubs organization:

That hire worked out pretty well.

As far as Johnson’s departure as Brewers pitching coach goes, it turns out it was a previously unreported clause in his contract that created an opportunity for him to explore other offers, and it turned out Cincinnati’s was too good to turn down.

With the hitting coach position now filled, Stearns and Counsell will now likely turn to filling the sudden pitching coach opening. They’re also still in the market for a bullpen coach after not renewing the contract of former bullpen coach Lee Tunnell.