October 9th, 2009

All Tigers coaches invited back except Van Slyke

Jason Beck / MLB.com

The Tigers have invited back all but one of their coaches for next season, including hitting coach Lloyd McClendon and pitching coach Rick Knapp. Third-base coach Gene Lamont, bullpen coach Jeff Jones and infield coach Rafael Belliard are also invited back. The one coach not returning is first base coach and outfield instructor Andy Van Slyke, who “has decided to pursue other opportunities,” according to a Tigers press release.

Van Slyke was one of manager Jim Leyland’s first hires when he took over the Tigers. He said Friday he might return to a job in radio and television, either back home in St. Louis or nationally.

“I don’t actually have a game plan yet,” Van Slyke said, “but I’ll come up with one.”

Van Slyke would not get into how the decision came about or who decided, calling it “irrelevant.” However, he complimented the team for his four years there.

“I’ve had a great time in Detroit, and the Tigers organization has treated me well,” Van Slyke said.

Team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said Friday that while it “has not been totally decided” that the current coaches will all stay in their current roles, he called it “most likely” that they’ll be looking for a first-base coach who can also coach outfield and baserunning. Manager Jim Leyland said it’s “99.5 percent certain” that they’ll hire from within the organization. If that’s the case, organizational instructor Gene Roof would be a likely in-house candidate, having handled those duties in the farm system for several years.