The Pirates are set to make four significant moves toward forming new manager Clint Hurdle's coaching staff: Ray Searage as pitching coach, Gregg Ritchie as hitting coach, Jeff Banister as third base coach and Nick Leyva as bench coach.
Sources this morning told the Post-Gazette that the team has decided upon those four and soon will name them formally. The rest of the positions remain up in the air, though it is not expected that any other members of the previous coaching staff will be retained.
Searage, 55, made a strong impression on the pitchers, as well as management, upon taking over when Joe Kerrigan was fired in August. Most important, some of the starters did their best work of the season under his tutelage, notably long-struggling Charlie Morton.
Ritchie, 46, had been the Pirates' minor-league hitting coordinator the past three years. Thus, he worked with all of the team's top young players on their way to the majors. That continuity, according to one source, was important to management. This will represent Ritchie's first experience in the majors, as a coach or player.
Banister, 45, was the other finalist for the manager's job that went to Hurdle earlier this week. He had been the Pirates' minor-league field coordinator for eight years until taking over as bench coach in August when Gary Varsho was fired.
Leyva, 57, is the only outside addition, having been bench coach last year in Toronto under Cito Gaston. It is believed that he was Hurdle's choice for right-hand man.
Positions still to be filled are first base coach and bullpen coach, as well as the assigning of titles for infield and outfield instructors.