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Rays add assistant hitting coach by promoting Nelson to major league staff

Posted Dec 4, 2012 by Roger Mooney

Updated Dec 4, 2012 at 03:35 PM

The Rays added an assistant hitting coach today when they promoted Jamie Nelson to the major league staff.

Nelson had been the organization’s roving catching instructor. In addition to working with hitting coach Derek Shelton, Nelson will also work with the catchers. Nelson will not be in uniform during games.

This adds the Rays to the growing list of major league teams that have an assistant hitting coach.

“I’m encouraged,” Rays hitting coach Derek Shelton said. “I think it’s a good thing. There’s a lot of work to be done as a hitting coach and adding someone to help out will be beneficial.”

Shelton noted that the Giants and Tigers, who met in the World Series, both have assistant hitting coaches. Same with the Cardinals, who won the 2011 World Series.

“I think we’re seeing the game going that way,” Shelton said.

The Rays hit .240 as a team in 2012, which was 12th out of 14 in the American League.

Nelson will help Shelton with the daily duties of a hitting coach while adding another set of eyes, much the same as the bullpen coach helps the pitching coach.

“I think it’s good to have a different set of eyes,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “The hitters normally have the hitting coach. Obviously, on most staffs, everybody is a hitting coach. All the coaches are, and everybody wants to throw their two cents in.  It’s nice to be more specific with two guys working in tandem.”

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