Long, Pena to remain on staff

Long, Pena to remain on staff

NEW YORK -- Joe Girardi's first coaching staff will contain at least two holdovers from the previous administration, as hitting coach Kevin Long and first-base coach Tony Pena are both in line to return for 2008.

General manager Brian Cashman confirmed on Thursday that the Yankees have agreed to retain both coaches from Joe Torre's final staff, citing their good work in helping the Yankees achieve a 94-win season and secure the American League Wild Card.

Additionally, Rob Thomson, the Yankees' Major League field coordinator last year and an 18-year veteran of the organization, appears in line to serve as Girardi's bench coach.

"Kevin Long, clearly, is someone that we're excited to retain," Cashman said. "Tony Pena and Rob Thomson want to stay."

Cashman said that he has also sought permission to speak with two candidates suggested by Girardi -- San Diego Padres first-base coach Bobby Meacham and Chicago Cubs Triple-A pitching coach Mike Harkey.

The Cubs have granted permission for Cashman to speak with Harkey, who could serve as Girardi's bullpen coach, and Meacham's contract with San Diego has expired, making him a likely fit to replace Larry Bowa as the Yanks' third-base coach.

"We have talked about it amongst the front office and myself," Girardi said. "We will continue to iron that out and I would imagine it will be done fairly shortly."

Long, 40, received a reported three-year contract worth $1 million to stay on as the Yankees' hitting coach, having completed his first season in that role. Long established a good rapport with many New York hitters and was well received for his hard-working style.

Pena, 49, completed his second season as the Yankees' first-base coach after spending parts of four seasons managing the Kansas City Royals from 2002-05. He was the third and final interview for the position eventually filled by Girardi and voiced a preference to stay on the coaching staff even if he did not receive the job.

Thomson, 44, served as the communication bridge between the Yankees' advance scouts and Torre's coaching staff in 2007. He also oversaw the Major League development plan for Spring Training, a new role after spending the previous three years as a special assignment instructor.

Additionally, Triple-A pitching coach Dave Eiland appears in line to step in to fill that same role for the Yankees, though those arrangements have not been finalized. Cashman said that it is possible the club could find a spot in the organization for pitching coach Ron Guidry, saying that he plans to be in touch with the former Yankees hurler.

Members of Torre's final coaching staff saw their contracts expire on Wednesday. Those who will not be returning include bench coach Don Mattingly and Bowa. With Torre being named the Dodgers' new manager on Thursday, both could follow him to Los Angeles next season. Bullpen coach Joe Kerrigan also is not expected to return for 2008.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.