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Dodgers 2016 coaching staff includes 8 new names

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers on Thursday announced their nearly all new coaching staff under first-year manager Dave Roberts, with eight new coaches.

The lone returning Dodgers coach is Rick Honeycutt, back for his 11th season as pitching coach and 16th season in the organization. Reports of his return have been rumored since early November, with Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reporting on Nov. 6 that Honeycutt would earn roughly $750,000 per year, one of the highest among major league pitching coaches.

Honeycutt, 61, has been the Dodgers' pitching coach since 2006, the longest tenured pitching coach with the franchise since Ron Perranoski from 1981-1994.

In Honeycutt's 10 seasons as pitching coach, the Dodgers lead MLB in ERA (3.66), FIP (3.70), xFIP (3.79), SIERA (3.76), strikeouts (12,605), strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.55), strikeout rate (20.7 percent), K-BB% (12.6 percent), WHIP (1.269), opponents batting average (.242), ERA- (94), FIP- (92) and fWAR (199.6).

One name missing is Gabe Kapler, the Dodgers player development director in 2015 and runner-up to Roberts in the managerial search. He was reported at various times as possibly joining the staff as first base coach, but that instead goes to George Lombard, who spent the last six years coaching in the Red Sox system, including the last three as minor league outfield and baserunning coordinator. The Braves announced on Sept. 4 that Lombard would be their minor league field coordinator, but he instead left for Los Angeles to be on the major league staff.

Kapler will reportedly remain player development director, per Tim Brown of Yahoo and Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

Bob Geren, who was one of nine managerial candidates to interview with the Dodgers to replace Don Mattingly, is the bench coach, having served in the same position with the Mets for the previous four seasons. Geren managed the Athletics from 2007-2011 as well.

Chris Woodward is the third base coach after two years on the Mariners' major league staff and three years in their system. Woodward was the first base coach and infield coach in Seattle in 2015.

The new hitting coach is Turner Ward, who was the hitting coach with the Diamondbacks the last two seasons and assistant hitting coach in 2013.

Tim Hyers is the assistant hitting coach, after spending the last three seasons as minor league coordinator in the Red Sox system.

Bard, who was in the front office as a special assistant followed by two years of scouting for the Dodgers, is now the bullpen coach. He played with Roberts in San Diego.

"He brings a lot of intelligence for the game. He brings energy, he's positive," Roberts said. "For me and for Honey, to have a guy who's been a catcher, who understands pitching and execution, to have him on the staff, and making those guys feel confident when they come into the game, was important to us."

Juan Castro joins the fold as quality assurance coach, a new position for the Dodgers, after spending the last two years as a minor league infield coordinator. Castro will be in uniform before games during batting practice and in meetings, helping out with the infield and defensive positioning. During the games, Roberts said, Castro will either be in the clubhouse or will watch the games from a suite, giving him a birds' eye view of the defense.

Castro is also the lone Spanish speaker on the staff, which fills a need.

"As the puzzle kind of played itself out, and I looked at a staff that didn't have anyone who speaks Spanish, it only made sense to have one more who could help out with the infield defense, and sit in the suite and watch from above during games," Roberts said.

Roberts also confirmed that Rob Flippo and Steve Cilladi will return as bullpen catchers in 2016.