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Padres Hire Hitting Coach Michael Brdar Away From Division-Rival Giants



The names on new Padres manager Bob Melvin’s big league coaching staff include well-known veterans already plenty familiar with the former Athletics manager.

They include Matt Williams at third base, Ryan Christenson as bench coach and Bryan Price as an advisor. Williams and Price are former MLB managers.

Other new Padres field staff includes pitching coach Ruben Niebla, catching instructor Francisco Cervelli and 27-year-old hitting coach Michael Brdar.

In the case of Brdar, the Padres couldn’t beat the Giants in 2021, so they hired away someone widely considered an up-and-coming mind in the industry.

Melvin certainly felt that way after his first talk with the Giants’ minor league hitting coordinator.

“I knew 20 minutes into his interview that I had a pretty good sense I was going to hire him,” Melvin said in December. “He blew me away."

After the Padres' second-half collapse in 2021, the list of players in need of rebounds is long. Oft-injured Trent Grisham faded in the second half. Wil Myers and Jurickson Profar fell off considerably after productive 2020 seasons, and Eric Hosmer battled an inflated groundball rate.

The Giants’ organizational philosophy of seeking advantageous hitting matchups on a team that finished 2021 with the best regular season record in MLB added to the Padres’ confidence in giving Brdar a crack at their top hitting coach position.

Brdar was the Cardinals’ 36th-round pick out of Michigan in 2017. His professional career ended after that summer, but he found himself back in affiliated ball as a coach after starting on Michigan’s staff, and quickly asserted himself as a forward-thinker in the industry.

“One of the reasons that we interviewed (Brdar),” Melvin said, “was to try to see what was going on over there, how they match up, how they’re prepared for pitchers, how they’re prepared for a start or how the guys coming off the bench prepared for a reliever and . . . he was well versed in that."

FATHER FIGURES

— The deal that sent second baseman Adam Frazier to the Mariners netted two prospects who cracked the Padres' Top 30 Prospects ranking: lefthander Raymond Kerr and outfielder Corey Rosier. Kerr struck out 60 in 39.2 innings with a 3.18 ERA and 1.06 WHIP as he rose from Double-A to Triple-A in 2021, while Rosier, a 12th-round pick in 2021, hit .380/.451/.570 after the draft.

— Another newbie on Melvin’s staff is first base coach David Macias, a Vanderbilt product who coached at Vanderbilt and East Carolina the past eight years. Macias was originally drafted by the Cubs in the 19th round in 2008.

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