It took a special opportunity to convince Greg Colbrunn to leave his job as hitting coach for the Charleston RiverDogs, and his family’s home in Mount Pleasant.
A job as hitting coach for one of the most storied franchises in Major League Baseball, the Boston Red Sox, certainly qualifies.
“You never know what opportunities are around the corner,” said Colbrunn, hired Wednesday as the Red Sox’ new hitting coach. “I sat down with my family, and this is an opportunity we could not pass up.
Colbrunn, 43, spent six years with the RiverDogs, five as hitting coach and one season (2010) as manager of the Yankees’ Class A affiliate. Now, he’ll wear the uniform of the Yankees’ chief rival.
“The more we did our homework, the more it became clear that Greg was a strong candidate,” said new Red Sox manager John Farrell. “Not only does he have a wealth of knowledge, but he has the ability to relate that knowledge. His fundamental approach to hitting is aligned with what we value.”
A 13-year veteran of Major League Baseball, Colbrunn will go from instructing 19-year-old rookies to working with veteran Red Sox stars such as David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia.
“When you are in Class A ball, you’re dealing with mechanical adjustments and work ethic, trying to build a foundation so they can become good major league hitters,” Colbrunn said. “When you are dealing with big leaguers, they’ve been through that. It becomes more mental than physical. You are dealing more with game plan and approach, keeping them in rhythm and in time.”
RiverDogs general manager Dave Echols said Colbrunn was very popular with the team’s players and fans due to his “hard work and dedication to his craft.”
A sixth-round pick by Montreal out of Fontana (Calif.) High School in 1987, Colbrunn hit .289 in 992 career games in the Major Leagues, and won the World Series in 2001 with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
His career included two years with the Atlanta Braves, in 1997-98.