Davis joins Dodgers as an instructor
Former All-Star could end up being hitting coach next season
PHOENIX -- Three-time All-Star Chili Davis is serving as a hitting instructor at the Dodgers' Arizona instructional league, which could lead to a job on the Major League staff as a hitting coach.
Davis, who ranks fourth on the all-time list for home runs by a switch-hitter with 350, has been out of organized baseball since his 1999 retirement from the Yankees, where he won two World Series playing for Joe Torre.
He was hitting coach for the Australian national team for three years, he has interviewed for several other coaching positions and he's currently listed as a recently hired coach at the instructional league, being held at the organization's Camelback Ranch-Glendale complex.
"I wanted to get back in the game," the 50-year-old Davis said Thursday. "Now I've got one foot in the door."
The Dodgers have not confirmed any members of new manager Don Mattingly's coaching staff. General manager Ned Colletti has said he wants to announce the entire staff when it's completed.
However, from all indications the staff will include these holdovers from Torre's staff: pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, bullpen coach Ken Howell and longtime hitting instructor Manny Mota.
Bench coach Bob Schaefer announced earlier this month that he won't return. Base coaches Larry Bowa and Mariano Duncan are not likely to return.
Tim Wallach, manager of the Dodgers' Triple-A affiliate at Albuquerque, is expected to be Mattingly's third-base coach. The Dodgers declined a request by the Toronto Blue Jays to interview Wallach for their managing job. Apparently, as part of his new deal with the Dodgers, Wallach has a limited number of clubs with which he can interview and Toronto is not among them.
Mattingly and Colletti are believed close to deciding on a bench coach, probably one with Major League managing experience.
Davis said his role in the organization hasn't been defined. But he met with Colletti last spring seeking an on-field assignment and he arranged with assistant general manager DeJon Watson to take a trip with Albuquerque during the season, which led to his presence in Glendale. He said for the better part of the last decade he's been dabbling in the business world.
"But that's not what I know," Davis said. "I know this game. I love this game. If everything else has to wait, I'm happier doing this than what I've been doing. Working with the players is more gratifying. I know the frustrations and I persevered as a player."
The Jamaican-born Davis grew up in Los Angeles, went to Dorsey High School and was drafted by the Giants. He played 19 seasons in the Majors: seven seasons in San Francisco, followed by two stints (seven seasons) with the Angels sandwiched around two years in Minnesota (where he won his first World Series). After the second tour with the Angels, he played one year in Kansas City before joining Torre on the Yankees' World Series title teams of 1998 and '99.
Davis was known to be a professional hitter, durable player and solid clubhouse influence, especially as a mentor to younger players.
He had career highs of 30 home runs in 1997 and 112 RBIs in 1993, but his best season probably was strike-shortened 1994, when he hit .311 with 26 homers and 84 RBIs in only 108 games.
Another new, but familiar, face at instructional league is Matt Herges, hired by the Dodgers as a Minor League pitching instructor. The 40-year-old Herges came up through the Dodgers organization and pitched for them and seven other Major League clubs. He spent 2010 at Triple-A for Kansas City.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.