The Pirates finalized their 2020 coaching staff Tuesday, one month to the day after they started the hiring process by signing Don Kelly as bench coach. And like Kelly, the Pirates' final addition to their staff comes from the Tigers.
Mike Rabelo, who has spent the last six years as a minor-league manager in the Tigers' system, has been hired as the assistant hitting coach. General manager Ben Cherington made the announcement.
Rabelo, 39, spent last year managing their Double-A affiliate, the Erie SeaWolves.
Rabelo recorded a 358-274 record as a minor-league manager and only had one losing season. He was awarded Midwest League Manager-of-the-Year honors in 2017 after his West Michigan Whitecaps team posted a league-best 91 wins. He also played 10 seasons professionally, including three in the majors with the Tigers (2006-2007) and Marlins (2008), and spent three seasons as a minor-league assistant coach from 2011-2013.
Cherington said during the MLB Winter Meetings in December that hitting coach Rick Eckstein would have a hand in picking his assistant.
The Pirates are also retaining Herbie Andrade as a coaching assistant and Jordan Comadena as the bullpen catcher. Andrade has been with the Pirates the last 15 years as a bullpen catcher, and Comadena has been in the same role since September 2016.
Andrade throws batting practice and assists the pitching and bullpen coach on observing pitcher mechanics.
Last year, Comadena approached Jacob Stallings with a weighted ball workout plan that helped Stallings improve greatly as a pitch framer and defender. The two evolved the plan as the year progressed.
The Pirates will not have a formal assistant pitching coach in 2020. Justin Meccage had been the assistant pitching coach the past two seasons, but he is taking over bullpen coaching duties.
This is what Derek Shelton's 2020 staff will look like: