Rangers tab Maddux as pitching coach

Rangers tab Maddux as pitching coach

Mike Maddux was named the Rangers pitching coach on Monday to replace Andy Hawkins, who was named bullpen coach after serving as the club's interim pitching coach the last two months of the season.

Maddux, who pitched 15 seasons in the Majors and was the Brewers' pitching coach from 2003-08, brings experience and credibility to help lead a pitching staff that finished last in the Major Leagues in ERA in 2008.

"Improving our pitching is our top priority, and we feel from a philosophical and personnel standpoint that we're clearly headed in the right direction with these hires," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "We're really proud of this group and it's a good mix of experience and guys that our familiar with our organization."

Maddux, 47, helped turn around the Brewers pitching staff in his six years with the club as Milwaukee finished last season with the second-best ERA in the National League. The Brewers' 3.87 ERA in 2008 was the lowest figure by a Milwaukee club in 16 years, since a 3.43 ERA in 1992.

Maddux, the older brother of 300-game winner Greg Maddux, also has plenty of pitching experience as he was 39-37 with a 4.05 ERA in 472 games in the Majors. He retired from action in 2000 and got his start as a pitching coach with the Double-A Round Rock Express in 2000-02. The Express is a Minor League team owned by Rangers president Nolan Ryan.

"I think all of the good things you look for in a good pitching coach, Mike certainly brings," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "His reputation precedes him and we're very happy to have in the Texas Rangers organization."

Maddux will have plenty of work to do after the Rangers posted a 5.37 ERA, and Texas hasn't finished in the top five in ERA in the American League since 2004. But Maddux said the change has to start with the mentality of the pitching staff.

"I think the challenge is to put everybody on that mound with confidence to forget the ballparks and the negative things that come with a hitter's ballpark," Maddux said. "What I want to do is bring confidence for pitchers for them to pitch with confidence and conviction."

Maddux has experience improving a pitching staff, as the Brewers had the second-worst ERA in the NL in 2002 -- the year before he took over. Since, then Milwaukee has compiled ERAs below 4.00 in two of the past four seasons.

"We did a lot of things in Milwaukee that were good and turned around things while we were there," Maddux said. "So to have the opportunity to do that again was appealing. I think there's a good foundation here in Texas to continue to put a better product on the field year in and year out."

Maddux will have Hawkins to lean on for advice about Rangers prospects and organizational depth, as Hawkins has spent seven of the last eight seasons in the Rangers organization.

"I think it will be a good working relationship between Andy and Mike simply because both of them are pitchers," Washington said. "And Andy has a good grasp of the organization, so he could be a good tool for Mike to have."

Maddux was interviewed by the Rangers over the weekend as the Rangers also interviewed former Athletics and Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson and Dave Wallace, who held that job with the Dodgers, Red Sox, Mets and Astros. Peterson was recommended by Washington, but they held out for Maddux, who did not become available until his contract with the Brewers expired over the weekend. The Rangers moved in quickly to snatch him up.

The hiring of Maddux and Hawkins completes the Rangers' 2009 coaching staff as the two join hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo, bench coach Jackie Moore, first-base coach Gary Pettis and third-base coach Dave Anderson.

"I'm very glad to put the staff together that we did," Daniels said. "Now we can turn our attention on the field to the players and putting the club together for next year."

Rhett Bollinger is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.