Bill Mueller, the former batting champ hired to cultivate the next generation of Chicago hope, walked away from the Cubs last month because he no longer had the situation that he believes he’s now found with the Cardinals.
Mueller resigned as hitting coach for the Cubs in early October shortly after his assistant hitting coach, Mike Brumley, had been reassigned within the organization.
He viewed the hitting coach role as a cooperative and reiterated Wednesday that without Brumley he didn’t have a set-up that felt right.
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He said Wednesday that when he was a free agent he had several calls from former Cardinals manager Tony La Russa about coming home but there was never a match, not until now.“It’s very familiar, St. “You can turn any corner and run into a friend.”The goal entering the winter was to enhance an offense that went from leading the league in runs scored during Mabry’s first season as hitting coach to scoring a run fewer a game.
No team in the NL hit fewer than the Cardinals’ 105 home runs, and the Cardinals went from averaging three extra-base hits a game in 2013 to less than 2½ in 2014.
General manager John Mozeliak said last week that the team should expect some return to past performances, but that an addition would help jolt the improvement.
Mueller intends to meet soon with Mabry and begin scouring video provided by the Cardinals for each hitter.
“We all want to be to able to have four eyes and two minds there for the guys whenever they need them.
The organization sets the philosophy and John and Mike (Matheny) are going to do that, and I’m going to help in whatever way they ask, starting with creating the relationships with players and coaches that are important.”For Mueller the job is a return home but his first time as a Cardinal.
The De Smet High grad, who grew up in Maryland Heights and took so many grounders off the asphalt there that the family baseballs had to be repaired with electrical tape, attended Missouri State and was San Francisco’s 15th-round selection in 1993.
He had an 11-year career in the majors that included stops with four teams, an American League batting crown in 2003, and a World Series championship with Boston in 2004 against the Cardinals, but never an inning with the hometown Cardinals.
Told he has a new hitter to watch with the addition of Jason Heyward in Monday’s trade, he said he has “more than just one new hitter to get to know.” “To be honest, as a hitting coach you learn, it’s what they want you to be and how you can apply to what the hitters need when they need you,” said Mueller, who moves into the role held by David Bell before his promotion to bench coach.