A's hitting coach may join Seattle's staff

A's hitting coach may join Seattle's staff

OAKLAND -- The A's on Wednesday lost their bench coach when Don Wakamatsu was named the new manager of the Seattle Mariners, and it appears they will lose another member of the coaching staff to their American League West rivals.

Two Major League sources on Friday told MLB.com that Ty Van Burkleo, Oakland's hitting coach for the past two seasons, will join Wakamatsu's staff in Seattle.

The Mariners have not announced any changes in the coaching staff under Wakamatsu, and the new manager did not directly address the future of the coaching staff at his introductory press conference on Wednesday.

Wakamatsu, A's general manager Billy Beane and Van Burkleo, who is vacationing in Mexico, could not be reached for comment Friday.

Van Burkleo, 45, was Wakamatsu's closest friend among Oakland's coaches last season, and the two men worked together as instructors in the Angels' Minor League system in 2001-02.

The Mariners went through three hitting coaches last season. With the Mariners ranked 13th in the AL in team batting and slugging and last in on-base percentage, Jeff Pentland was let go as hitting coach on June 9 and replaced by Lee Elia. When manager John McLaren was dismissed 11 days later and replaced by bench coach Jim Riggleman, Elia was promoted to bench coach and Jose Castro took over as hitting coach.

Under Van Burkleo, Oakland ended the 2008 season ranked at or near the bottom of the AL in several offensive categories, including last in team batting and runs scored. The A's were ravaged by injuries in each of Van Burkleo's two seasons with the A's, however, and he told MLB.com in October that the team had asked him back for a third year.

Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.