Butcher out as pitching coach; Hickey in
Pitching coach Mike Butcher, a close associate of manager Joe Maddon, left the Rays after one season to return to the Angels, where he will replace Bud Black. The Rays replaced Butcher by hiring Jim Hickey, who was fired last month by the Astros after 2 1/2 seasons as their pitching coach.
Hickey, 45, has been in the Houston organization for 16 years, and was promoted to the major-league staff in July 2004.
"Jim helped build a tradition of pitching excellence in Houston at both the minor and major league level and we are excited to add him to the major league coaching staff,'' Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman said in a team statement. "His experience and background in development is going to benefit the whole organization.''
Hickey was fired by Houston Oct. 4 even though the Astros finished second in the National League in earned run average for a second straight season. His staffs were anchored by Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte and Roy Oswalt. The Associated Press reported that Houston general manager Tim Purpura was disappointed Hickey didn't get more out of the Astros younger pitchers.