Angels bring back Eppard in Minors role, hire Tito's son
Former hitting coach will return; Nick Francona named coordinator of intelligence
ANAHEIM -- The Angels have brought back Jim Eppard and hired the son of Indians manager Terry Francona.
Eppard was dismissed after a year and a half as Major League hitting coach shortly after the regular season and was ultimately replaced by Don Baylor. But Eppard will return to the organization as a second hitting coordinator in the Minor Leagues, working in conjunction with Paul Sorrento.
The 2014 season will mark Eppard's 12th year in the Angels organization, including a long tenure as the hitting coach at Triple-A Salt Lake.
Francona's son, Nick, is being brought in as a coordinator of Major League intelligence, a role that will have him working closely with new Major League player information coach Rick Eckstein in helping to coordinate and build advanced scouting plans for each series.
Nick Francona graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, then enrolled in Officer Candidates School for the U.S. Marine Corps, ultimately becoming the commander of a sniper battalion in Afghanistan. After being discharged, he worked as a financial consultant. He's been surrounded by baseball throughout his life as the son and grandson of big leaguers.
The Angels have yet to hire an assistant hitting coach, but Baylor has interviewed all of the club's internal candidates, and a decision could be coming soon. One option for the position is Rico Brogna, who is currently serving as a special assistant to general manager Jerry Dipoto.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.