Vince Harrison rises in D-backs coaching ranks
As the calendar flips to a new year, MLB organizations finalize and announce their minor league coaching staff for each of their affiliates. In December, the Pittsburgh Pirates announced that former Revolution infielder Keoni DeRenne (’07-’09) had been promoted from hitting coach at Class A to A-Advanced. The Arizona Diamondbacks have done the same with another Revs alum; former third baseman Vince Harrison (’10-’11) has been shifted as hitting coach of the Kane County (IL) Cougars of the Midwest League to the Visalia Rawhide of the California League.
Harrison immediately entered the coaching ranks upon his retirement as a player following the 2011 Revolution championship season. He joined the Pirates and began as hitting coach for the Class A West Virginia Power in the South Atlantic League (DeRenne was a successor in that job, holding the post the last two seasons), before joining the Diamondbacks for the 2014 season. 2016 marks Harrison’s third season with Arizona, going from Rookie League hitting coach for the Missoula (MT) Osprey in the Pioneer League, to Kane County, to Visalia.
Harrison, 36, retired as a player after being named the 2011 Atlantic League Playoffs MVP, batting over .500 in the four-game Championship Series win over Long Island, capping York’s second consecutive title. He was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in 2001 following a collegiate career at the University of Kentucky, where he was also a wide receiver on the football team in addition to baseball. Harrison was on the ’98-’99 Kentucky team that played Penn State in the 1999 Outback Bowl.
He’ll coach with two familiar faces from the Atlantic League; former infielder Javier Colina is a coach for Visalia, and former MLB catcher J.R. House (Pirates, Astros, Orioles) is the manager. Both were with the Long Island Ducks in 2011, while Colina was also with the Ducks in 2010 and the Blue Crabs in 2012. Since there’s always a York County connection, 17-year MLB veteran and longtime Phillie Greg Gross is returning to Triple-A Reno with the D-backs for his fourth season as hitting coach. He was the Phillies hitting coach from 2010-2012.