Mental Game

Pirates make an interesting hire





PITTSBURGH—When Neal Huntingon was Cleveland's farm director, he brought what was described as a "holistic approach" to player development.

The Pirates are taking the same tack with Huntington as their general manager and Kyle Stark, another alumnus of the Indians' front office, as farm director. That is why they hired Bernie Holliday to be their mental conditioning coordinator and former major league pitcher Anthony Telford as personal development coordinator.

Holliday has a doctorate in sports psychology and spent the last six years working at the U.S. Military Academy. He began his time at West Point as a sports psychologist and eventually carried out his program to the entire Army.

"Bernie has the right combination of characteristics to fill a challenging role, including his time with the Army and training both athletes and soldiers, and personality in his ability to relate to different people," Stark said. "I'm intrigued by his background and the experiences he has had translating performance psychology in a different arena. His passion for helping people achieve their goals will be a separator as well."

Telford spent nine seasons in the majors with the Orioles (1990-91, 1993), Expos (1997-2001) and Rangers (2002). He most recently was a pitching coach in the independent South Coast League.

"When creating a new position, especially one that can be as broad as coordinating a personal development program, a number of skill sets could be potential fits," Stark said. "Ultimately, we decided that identifying someone who had personally experienced the challenges of developing on and off the field as a player was the right fit."

Stark added that the addition of a personal development coordinator is aimed at helping players develop as much off the field as on.

PITTBURGERS

• Jim Benedict, who spent last season as a special assistant to Huntington, will replace Troy Buckley as the minor league pitching coordinator. Benedict held the same job with the Expos (1994-98) and Dodgers (1999-2000).

• Steve Lombardozzi, who was the second baseman on Minnesota's World Series championship team in 1987, was hired as minor league infield coordinator to replace Carlos Garcia, who was promoted to the major league staff.