Mallee gets high marks from Marlins hitters, Veterans, young hitters alike want Mallee back in 2011

October 6, 2010 By Juan C. Rodriguez, Sun Sentinel

Edwin Rodriguez wasn’t the only Marlins staff member who received strong endorsements from players. Several hitters said they would love to continue their relationship with John Mallee.

The Marlins promoted Mallee from minor league hitting coordinator to replace Jim Presley, who in June was dismissed along with manager Fredi Gonzalez. With the exception of pitching coach Randy St. Claire, who is signed through 2011, Mallee and the rest of the coaches are in limbo until the Marlins hire a manager.

Mallee has spent nine seasons in the organization, the first eight and a half as minor league hitting coordinator. Last season he interviewed for the Texas Rangers’ hitting coach job that went to Clint Hurdle. Mallee likely would garner interest for other big league jobs this offseason if the Marlins do not retain him.

Part of the reason the Marlins promoted Mallee was to work with the same hitters he helped develop in the minors. Gaby Sanchez, Mike Stanton, and Logan Morrison all swear by him, but Mallee’s contribution went beyond the young guys.

“He’s definitely one of the most involved hitting coaches I’ve ever had,” Wes Helms said. “Video-wise, drill-wise, approach-wise, he loves his job. He knows these hitters coming up and that are up here now. He’s been with them their whole careers, so that’s big. With the young team we’re going to have, you bring in a different hitting coach, sometimes they don’t know the hitter and try to change them where it won’t benefit them. This guy knows their swing, knows their approach, and he can really help.”

Added Dan Uggla: “Big-time impact [on me]. With how much he looks at film and my at-bats against the guy I’m supposed to be facing that day, he gives me a plan on how to attack them and it really helps out. He’ll tell you what to look for and how to react, and you’re going to get him on this pitch. You’ve already conquered it in your head.”

** According to several media reports, the Mets asked the Marlins for permission to speak with their top three personnel men for the vacant general manager’s job. It’s unlikely the Marlins would allow their National League East rival to interview President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest, General Manager Michael Hill or Vice President of Player Personnel Dan Jennings.

All are signed through 2015.

** Radio play-by-play man Dave Van Horne is one of 10 finalists for the 2011 Ford C. Frick award, presented annually for excellence in baseball broadcasting by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. He has spent 43 years calling games, the last 10 with the Marlins and first 33 with the Expos.

Van Horne is one of three active broadcasters on the ballot along with Tim McCarver and Eric Nadel. The other seven: Rene Cardenas, Tom Cheek, Dizzy Dean, Jacques Doucet, Bill King, Ned Martin and Graham McNamee. The winner will be announced on Dec. 7 at the Winter Meetings.

Juan C. Rodriguez can be reached at