UPDATE - First base and part time hitting coach Ozzie Timmons has accepted a position as the Major League hitting coach for the Milwaukee Brewers.
NEWS | Ozzie Timmons is joining the Milwaukee Brewers as a Major League Hitting Coach— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) November 11, 2021
For all you’ve meant to our club, for all you’ve meant to our community
Thank you, Ozzie pic.twitter.com/nRqbDQlG4k
Last week the Rays had announced Timmons was transitioning away from his on field duties to focus on hitting coach responsibilities; however, he was not the lead hitting coach in Tampa Bay.
Ozzie Timmons is a well known coach for the Rays fanbase.
Given his physical position on the field, the first base coach is already one of the most frequently seen members of Kevin Cash’s staff, but the camera is always quick to find Timmons between innings as well, as the team’s part-time hitting coach is committed to giving 10 push ups for every run scored.
So beloved is the Tampa-native that Timmons has his own fanbase down the first base line, with several season ticket members opting for Timmons’s No. 30 jersey in the section near the field.
Even though Timmons might be a bit harder for the fans to interact with, he won’t be going anywhere. Previous to joining Kevin Cash’s staff as the first base coach, Timmons was the organization’s hitting coach for Triple-A Durham, and has never stopped performing as a hitting coach once he joined the Rays in 2018 in addition to his duties coaching outfielders and base runners.
Under the re-organization of Cash’s staff, Timmons will now serve as the team’s assistant hitting coach full-time alongside Chad Mottola.
To fill the role vacated by Timmons, minor-league coordinator Chris Prieto will take over as first base, outfield and baserunning coach and be positioned as the First Base coach.
Prieto joined the Rays organization after six seasons in the Mariners system, three as a major league coach, operating at both first base and third base. He spent the last two years as an organizational coordinator in the minors as part of a drastic re-shuffling the Rays made of the minor league coaching staffs ahead of the 2020 season. Before embarking on his coaching career, Prieto played for 11 years in the minors, receiving one cup of coffee with the Angels in 2005.
The Rays had several internal candidates who could have been promoted to the major league staff, as the Rays had an historically good season across the organizational affiliates. Prieto’s specific strengths coaching outfielders and base running, the current areas of need with Timmons reallocating his time, as well as his previous experience as a base coach in the majors and availability as a system coordinator made Prieto’s selection the least disruptive and possibly easiest transition organizationally.
Ozzie Timmons, meanwhile, gets to dedicate himself fulltime to the rigorous demands of hitting coach. Timmons was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 1990 and was promoted in 1995. Timmons played for his hometown Devil Rays in 2000, and concluded his playing career in Japan in 2001. Timmons has only ever coached in the Rays organization, beginning at the Class-A level in 2007.