Hensley Meulens

Why Meulens vouched for Giants to hire Powell as new hitting coach

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AP

Why Meulens vouched for Giants to hire Powell as new hitting coach

Hensley Meulens is in a new role with the Giants. After serving as the team's hitting coach from 2010 to 2017, Meulens is shifting his baseball knowledge to the bench in 2018. 

Even though he won't primarily deal with hitters and their approach, Meulens had a loud voice in the next man to do his former job. So, why was Meulens so adamant about the Giants hiring Alonzo Powell? 

First and foremost, trust. 

"Well, you know, I've known 'Zo for 30 years," Meulens said Saturday on KNBR. "We played together in independent ball, we played at the same time in Japan, so we're similar. I think he's a guy that's a grinder, a guy that's been all over the place. 

"He's won two straight batting titles in Japan, which is difficult to do as a foreign player. ... I trust him and I trust that he can gain the players' trust and that's an important thing. That's the most important thing when you're trying to get across to the hitter. Does he trust me? Can I talk to him?" 

After being signed by the Giants out of Lincoln High School in 1983 and struggling in the majors for two seasons between the Expos and Mariners, Powell starred in Japan. Over seven seasons in Japan, Powell batted .313/.371/.510 with 116 home runs. 

The 53-year-old was the assistant hitting coach on last season's World Series-winning Astros. Meulens believes Powell, along with new assistant hitting coach Rick Schu, can lead a revamped lineup with more of an analytical approach. 

"I think in both places they used the sabermetrics a little more than we used to over here," Meulens said. "The approach is going to be whatever they implement, I don't know. 

"I know it's [the teaching] not going to change too much, but we can have a potent offense." 

The Giants' offense was at or near the bottom of baseball in multiple categories last year while Powell and Schu helped lead potent attacks in Houston and Washington respectively. 

Reports: Giants' Meulens falls short in Yankees' managerial search

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USATSI

Reports: Giants' Meulens falls short in Yankees' managerial search

Hensley Meulens will continue to wait his turn. 

The Giants' bench coach has not been chosen to be the Yankees' next manager, according to multiple national reports. 

Meulens was a finalist for the position. In the end, the Yankees will go with Aaron Boone, who played third base for New York in 2003. 

Meulens, 50, joined the Giants' big league coaching staff as the team's hitting coach in 2010 and has stayed at the position through the 2017 season. The Giants shuffled their coaching duties this offseason and named Meulens their bench coach. 

More to come...

Giants helped facilitate Meulens' interview with Yankees

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AP

Giants helped facilitate Meulens' interview with Yankees

SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants moved Hensley Meulens to bench coach last month in part so that their former hitting coach could prepare for a future as a manager. The front office helped Meulens make that push in other ways, too. 

Because he is under contract with the Giants, Meulens is technically not allowed to throw himself into the running for open managerial jobs, but on a conference call with reporters Thursday, he said the Giants organization helped set him up to interview for the open Yankees job. Meulens met with Yankees management on Thursday in New York in a bid to be named the replacement for Joe Girardi. 

“The Giants want to see a few of us in managing situations,” Meulens said, noting that the same has been done for Ron Wotus. “The organization found a way to let people know we’re available or interested.”

For Meulens, Thursday morning's interview was a dream come true. He broke into baseball with the Yankees and said the organization taught him what it means to be a winner. To prepare for the interview, he turned to friends around the game who are familiar with coming out on top, especially in heated battles for the limited managerial jobs in Major League Baseball. Meulens said he talked to current managers Don Mattingly, Dave Roberts, Jeff Bannister and Torey Lovullo about the best way to prepare for such an important interview, and he also reached out to longtime manager Dusty Baker. 

Meulens got a dry run of sorts earlier in the offseason. He said he interviewed for the Detroit Tigers job when it became available, and his conference call with Yankees reporters showed that he was certainly well prepared for one of the most pressure-packed jobs in sports. Meulens repeatedly hammered home the fact that communication is a strength of his. Girardi was reportedly let go in part because his rapport with players was considered to be a weakness. 

“I’m somebody that’s ready to take the challenge and bring new positive energy on a daily basis, and also connect with everybody on the roster,” Meulens said. 

Meulens expanded on his past work with Yankee Didi Gregorius, a fellow native of Curacao, and he mentioned the Giants several times. In discussing his work with Gregorius during the World Baseball Classic, he compared him to Brandon Crawford, who made similar swing changes to improve against left-handed pitchers. When asked what separates him from other candidates, Meulens repeatedly noted his long history with winning, from his four minor league titles with the Yankees to his three rings with his current employer. 

“I was groomed to be a winner,” Meulens said. “All my career, I’ve won a bunch, and that never changes. Every day I put on my uniform, I come to the park to win the ballgame. Nothing against (any of the other candidates), but I have a drive for that.”