Saturday, November 18, 2006

Rays add Astros pitching coach

The Devil Rays hired Jim Hickey as their major-league pitching coach Saturday, a move that seemingly gives Biscuits coach Xavier Hernandez a good shot at moving up to Class AAA Durham.

Hickey was the major-league pitching coach of the Houston Astros, who fired him at the end of the season. Hickey replaces Mike Butcher, who will be the Los Angeles Angels' pitching coach. He replaces Bud Black, the new manager of the Padres.

Hernandez and manager Charlie Montoyo were already good bets to be promoted from Montgomery to Durham after the Biscuits won the Southern League championship and the Rays fired Durham's entire coaching staff. Hickey has been with the Houston organization for 16 years, so he and Hernandez should be familiar with each other.

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