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Tampa Bay Rays news and links: Jim Hickey rejoins Joe Maddon

He’ll be the pitching coach in Chicago.

Cleveland Indians v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images

In a move that surprised absolutely no one, the Cubs have hired former Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey. As soon as the Rays let Hickey go, the writing was on the wall for Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio. The Cubs need their pitching to be better than it was. Their rotation will be different next year. It will be interesting to see if Hickey’s arrival helps.

Meanwhile, former Rays and current Cubs bench coach Dave Martinez is interviewing for the Nationals managerial job.

Meanwhile, the Yankees have not renewed the contract of Joe Girardi. Rays fans can probably be happy with this one. I think most of us believe that Girardi was a pretty good manager. When a team gets rid of a coach or manager who is pretty good, there’s strong chance they get worse.

While we’re on the subject, read this article about the relationship between Dodgers hitting coach Turner Ward and Yasiel Puig. I don’t think being Puig’s hitting coach is easy. Baseball is often a stodgy sport, with a conservative culture that wants to stamp out individuals like Puig. But when you’re a team with a Puig, giving in to that easy impulse is not how you win baseball games. You need a coach who can make it work, and bring out the best in his players, whoever they are. Sounds like Ward is doing that.

And one last thing on coaching. David Laurila interviewed Tony Kemp, an Astros Minor Leaguer. It’s a good window into the Astros’ hitting approach.