Texas Rangers hire highly regarded hitting coach from Red Sox

ARLINGTON -- Ever since the Texas Rangers' season ended with an unimaginable fall from the top, people have been waiting for a player, coach or executive to be singled out as the fall guy.

The club's transaction Friday, two weeks after Baltimore beat the Rangers in the inaugural American League wild-card game, would suggest that one has been identified.

The Rangers named Dave Magadan as their new hitting coach, hiring him away from Boston and costing Scott Coolbaugh his spot on the major league coaching staff.

But general manager Jon Daniels said that Coolbaugh is not to blame for a collapse that saw the Rangers fall from World Series front-runners to out of the postseason in only 11 days.

Magadan is simply too good, one of the best in the game, and the Rangers couldn't bypass the opportunity to hire him.

"It's not what happened the last two weeks by any stretch," Daniels said. "When you make a change, the headlines come out the next day, and it's the easy thing to suggest we're putting this at one guy's feet. It's far from the truth.

"We're just looking at areas to improve. We were not going to make a change to this position unless we found somebody that was the perfect fit."

Daniels lauded Magadan, who spent six seasons with the Red Sox and won a World Series in his first year in 2007. During his reign, Boston led baseball in doubles and extra-base hits, and was second in runs scored.

The Rangers led the majors in 2012 in runs (808) and were second in average (.273), but they were plagued late and during a lousy July by too many missed opportunities with runners in scoring position.

The Rangers hit only .236 (13 for 55) with runners in scoring position in their final eight losses of the season, including the wild-card game. But the lack of hits was compounded by a lack of execution.

Manager Ron Washington has always preached to do what the game asks, and a fly ball or groundout can work just fine with a runner at third and less than two outs.

Washington, who was a coach on Oakland's staff during the two seasons Magadan played there in 1997 and 1998, said that Magadan is all about producing runs.

"I preach doing what the game asks you to do," Washington said. "That's what he preaches -- discipline, staying in the middle of the field, each individual, not cloning people."

Magadan didn't delve into his plans for 2013, saying he would prefer to look at video and talk to hitters before announcing his intentions. But he has been braced for some key departures from the lineup and is anticipating that he will have some young hitters to guide.

His overall philosophy is to work with what each hitter has rather than trying to mold each player into his idea of a perfect hitter.

"I'm big in working in the framework of what makes a guy a good hitter," Magadan said. "I don't think everyone has to hit the same way. You look at each individual to see what they are doing when they are hitting well."

Coolbaugh has been offered a position within the organization. He was hired in June 2011 after then-hitting coach Thad Bosley was dismissed as the Rangers got off to a slow start.

The move the Rangers made Friday wasn't out of necessity, said Daniels. Magadan was just too good to not hire.

"Dave was the only person we talked to about this position. I want to make that clear," Daniels said.

"By no stretch is this singling out Scott Coolbaugh. Far from it. We think Scott is an asset to the organization and talented and belongs here with the Rangers. We just felt we had the opportunity to get one of the best in the business and went that route."

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760

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