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Pirates Pirates hire coach; Jewett back in AAA

Friday, October 25, 2002

By Robert Dvorchak, Post-Gazette Sports Writer

The new first-base coach for the Pirates is Rusty Kuntz, who has eight years of big-league experience with two organizations and won a World Series ring with the 1984 Detroit Tigers.

In addition to naming Kuntz, who will also serve as the club's outfield and baserunning instructor, the Pirates announced that Trent Jewett has accepted the post as manager at Nashville. Jewett was managing the Class AAA affiliate in 2000 when he was named the Pirates' third-base coach, and he coached at third for two seasons under Manager Lloyd McClendon.

The Pirates have two slots open on the major-league staff -- hitting coach and bench coach. There has been no determination whether Pete Mackanin will be the third-base coach or bench coach. The positions are expected to be filled by the end of next week.

Kuntz, 47, spent the last two months of the past season as a roving instructor in the Atlanta Braves' system. Before that, he served in the Florida Marlins' system for nine years -- coaching at first base in 1995, '96, '99 and 2000. He worked for five seasons as the Marlins' minor-league outfield and baserunning coordinator.

He spent four seasons (1989-92) as first-base coach for the Seattle Mariners, in which he also served as outfield and baserunning instructor. He assumed those duties after two years in the Houston Astros' system.

"He's a real quality guy. He brings a lot of experience, energy and enthusiasm," said General Manager Dave Littlefield, who knew Kuntz when he was with the Marlins. "He'll be a real asset for us."

A draft pick of the Chicago White Sox, Kuntz made his major-league debut in 1977 and played for the White Sox, Twins and Tigers, hitting a combined .236 with five home runs and 38 RBIs in 277 major-league games.

In the 1984 Series, Kuntz delivered the winning RBI with a sacrifice fly in the seventh inning of Game 5 to clinch the World Series title for Detroit.

Jewett, 38, managed Nashville for three seasons and managed six additional clubs in the Pirates' system. His Nashville teams were 176-164 between 1998 and 2000.

In nine minor-league seasons, Jewett's teams were a combined 553-568, and his 1995 Carolina team won the Southern League championship with an 89-55 record. Jewett also managed at Welland, Augusta, Salem and Calgary.

"We're pleased to have him," Littlefield said. "It could be a little awkward in that he was on the major-league staff. But Trent's a pro. He brings a lot of experience."

Robert Dvorchak can be reached at bdvorchak@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1959.

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