Hitting coach Pierson excited for first shot in Majors
Former Minor League field coordinator takes over for Tino on interim basis for Marlins
MIAMI -- John Pierson certainly has paid his dues, and now the 59-year-old is wearing a big league uniform for the first time.
The Marlins on Sunday named Pierson as their interim hitting coach for the remainder of the season.
After roughly 40 years of coaching at either the college or Minor League level, Pierson takes over for Tino Martinez, who resigned on Sunday amid accusations of being abusive to players.
In his 10th season in the organization, Pierson has been Miami's Minor League field coordinator, a job where he did plenty of overseeing.
But he is not new to coaching hitters. From 1999-2002, Pierson was in the Cubs' system, and he spent one season as a hitting coach at Rookie-level Mesa.
"My passion has always been hitting," Pierson said. "I was a hitting coach right up to that time I became a field coordinator. It's still in there. I just have to bring it out."
Receiving a big league opportunity is something Pierson hadn't been seriously considering, mainly because it never came before, either as a player or coach.
A first-round Draft pick of the Royals in 1973, Pierson was a middle infielder. But his playing career was only a few seasons, and it never advanced higher than Class A.
"As a player, I was never called up," Pierson said. "I can't say I know what that feeling is. I'm totally excited, and honestly, I'm a little overwhelmed right now. So many things I'm trying to catch up on right now -- scouting reports and all the stuff we have available to the hitters with the video tape."
In the first week at his new job, Pierson will familiarize himself and build relationships with the players and his new surroundings.
Pierson, who makes his home in Arizona, also previously coached hitting at Arizona State University, where he attended school. He also was a hitting coach at two other colleges.
With a decade in the Marlins' system, Pierson is familiar with all the Miami players who came up through the Minor Leagues. He's worked before with Giancarlo Stanton, Logan Morrison and Christian Yelich.
"I want to build some relationships," Pierson said. "I know a lot of these kids since they were in the Minor Leagues. Now, it's seeing their routines and things to look for. The first few days, it's going to be a lot of watching and talking to them.
"I want to be careful, and I don't want to give them too much. I want to keep it simple, because I'm a big believer in keeping it simple. I don't want them thinking too much. I want them going out and competing, Keeping things simple and basic, and going from there."