Cardinals News: St. Louis finalize coaching staff, hire assistant hitting coach

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Oliver Marmol #37 of the St Louis Cardinals watches game action against the Washington Nationals during a spring training game at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches on March 16, 2018 in West Palm Beach, Florida. The Nationals defeated the Cardinals 4-2. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Oliver Marmol #37 of the St Louis Cardinals watches game action against the Washington Nationals during a spring training game at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches on March 16, 2018 in West Palm Beach, Florida. The Nationals defeated the Cardinals 4-2. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images) /
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The St. Louis Cardinals have finalized their coaching staff, hiring former Dodgers and Reds hitting coach Turner Ward as an assistant.

The St. Louis Cardinals have finalized their 2022 major-league coaching staff.

On Monday, the Cardinals announced they have hired Turner Ward as assistant hitting coach. Skip Schumaker was officially announced as bench coach while pitching coach Mike Maddux, hitting coach Jeff Albert, Stubby Clapp, Ron ‘Pop’ Warner, Bryan Eversgerd and Willie McGee will return to the team in 2022.

Ward, who is a former hitting coach with the Cincinnati Reds and Los Angeles Dodgers, was rumored to be a candidate last week by Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Ward is close with Paul Goldschmidt, having spent time together with the Arizona Diamondbacks, and while he has experience working with some of the top players in baseball, was fired only one season after joining the Reds as hitting coach, with Reds president of baseball operations Dick Williams saying, “As we reflected on this season, it became clear that we lacked the alignment we were seeking with our offensive approach.”

The Cardinals, of course, are hoping that things will be different in St. Louis. He will have less on his plate, considering he is only in an assistant role, and that should make the transition smoother. As for what the team is looking for from Ward, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak gave this description at the GM Meetings: “We’re looking for someone who would complement Jeff and not just a replica of Jeff. Ultimately, to have another voice, another type of voice, that our hitters can speak to for maybe different parts of hitting that maybe they don’t have from someone like Jeff.”

Given that Ward spent three seasons with the Dodgers, he will have ideas from one of the most forward-thinking organizations in baseball. Players who have worked with him, including Yasiel Puig, have raved about Ward’s ability as a teacher and communicator. And if he can effectively implement those ideas, not only will the Cardinals’ offense be in good shape, Ward could be in position to land another hitting coach job in 2023.

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Among the other candidates the Cardinals considered were former All-Star outfielder Ryan Ludwick, as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported, but the team sought someone with previous coaching experience.

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