The Yankees have filled a big hole in Aaron Boone’s coaching staff, as the team announced on Monday afternoon that they’ve named James Rowson their new hitting coach. The 47-year-old replaces Sean Casey in the role, after Casey had recently announced he wouldn’t be returning in 2024 in order to spend more time with his family.
The New York Yankees today announced that James Rowson has been named the club’s hitting coach. pic.twitter.com/XqRgr9kNQ5— New York Yankees (@Yankees) November 13, 2023
A native New Yorker, Rowson is no stranger to the Yankees organization, having spent nine years with the team from 2006-11 and 2014-16 — the last seven of which were spent as Minor League hitting coordinator. In between those two stints in the Bronx, he spent two seasons with the Cubs, initially as Minor League hitting coordinator before being named Major League hitting coach in June of 2012.
Rowson left New York again in 2017, this time to serve as hitting coach for the Minnesota Twins. He enjoyed plenty of success throughout his three years in Minneapolis, but especially in 2019, when the Twins set an MLB record with 307 home runs while ranking second in the Majors in runs scored and setting new franchise highs for extra-base hits (648), slugging percentage (.494) and OPS (.832). (They would eventually fall to the Yankees in the ALDS that season.) That earned him a job as bench coach for the Marlins, where he served under Don Mattingly from 2020 to 2022. He spent this past season as assistant hitting coach for the Detroit Tigers.
Rowson will be New York’s third primary hitting coach in a five-month span and the team’s fourth in the last three years, as Brian Cashman and Co. continue to look for answers to an increasingly floundering (and injury-prone) offense. Things hit rock bottom in 2023, when the Yankees fired Dillon Lawson in July — their first in-season coaching change since 1995 — and replaced him with longtime MLB first baseman Casey. No matter who was in charge, though, New York struggled at the plate: Under Lawson, the Yankees hit .231/.301/.410 and averaged 4.4 runs per game; under Casey, they hit .221/.307/.381 and averaged 3.8 runs per game. Keeping Aaron Judge healthy for all (or at least most) of 2024 will certainly help, but Rowson will have his work cut out for him unless Cashman can bring in an impact bat or two this offseason.
The Yankees still must now hire a new bench coach after the New York Mets hired Carlos Mendoza as their new manager last week.