CLEVELAND — Editor's note: the video in the player above is from a previous story.
When the Cleveland Indians return as the Cleveland Guardians in 2022, they'll do so with a new hitting coach. On Wednesday, the Indians announced that hitting coach Ty Van Burkleo will not return to his role next season.
Initially hired in 2013 as a part of manager Terry Francona's first staff in Cleveland, Burkleo was Major League Baseball's longest-tenured hitting coach. His departure comes following the Indians' 80-82 finish to the 2021 regular season, which marked Cleveland's first losing record since Francona's arrival.
"You can't spend nine years with somebody and not become pretty attached," Francona said of Burkleo during an end-of-season press conference with media members on Wednesday. "Now that we have spoken to him, we'll get together as a group and start making that assessment and ideas together and qualities together that we think can be our hitting coach."
In 2021, the Indians ranked in the second half of Major League Baseball in several offensive statistics, including runs (18), batting average (21), on-base percentage (26) and on-base plus slugging percentage (21). Cleveland also had just two players post offensive WARs (wins above replacement) higher than 2: All-Star third baseman Jose Ramirez (5.7) and shortstop Amed Rosario (3.0).
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