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Rockies hire Bichette as hitting coach after Giambi passes

The SportsXchange

Dante Bichette is the Colorado Rockies' new hitting coach, but it's possible he wasn't the team's first choice.

Jason Giambi was considered a strong candidate for the job, but he told the Denver Post he withdrew his name from consideration late in the process. Giambi, an active player for the Rockies last season at age 41, was also a candidate for the Rockies' managerial job before the team hired Walt Weiss last week.

Weiss, most recently a high school baseball coach, received a one-year contract to manage the team.

Giambi told the Post about the hitting coach position, "I really thought about it, and if Walt had gotten more than a year on his contract, maybe it would have been different. But I felt that he needed to get a foothold and have total focus and commitment from the guys. He really deserves it. If the team doesn't start out the way they want, and I am in the background looming, it could be a PR nightmare. I am not that kind of human being. I want Walt and the Rockies to do well and get things turned around."

Bichette, 48, played seven of his 14 big-league years with the Rockies, earning all four of his All-Star appearances during his time in Colorado. He finished with a .299 career average, 274 homers, 1,141 RBI, a .336 on-base percentage and a .499 slugging percentage.

Since he last played in the majors in 2001, Bichette has worked as a private hitting instructor.

"(Hitting is) a passion of mine since I was 10 years old; I'm infatuated with hitting," Bichette told "People ask me what I've been doing since I retired, and I tell them almost nothing has changed. I've been throwing batting practice and working with hitters. It's something I love to do, and would love to have the chance to do it at the major league level.

"I'm ready to roll."

Giambi hasn't decided whether he will attempt to play another season. Injuries limited him to 60 games in 2012, and he underwent groin surgery in October.

Weiss takes over for Jim Tracy, who resigned shortly after the Rockies concluded a 64-98 season. Bichette replaces Carney Lansford, whom the team fired following the season.

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