Phillies hire Bob McClure as pitching coach

Bob McClure. (Chris O'Meara/AP)

It required 53 days and at least dozen interviews, but the Phillies have found a replacement for longtime pitching coach Rich Dubee. They hired Bob McClure, who last served as Boston's pitching coach in 2012.

McClure, 61, was out of baseball last season. He takes this job knowing he was far from being the Phillies' top choice.

"Bob brings a wealth of experience to our staff," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said in a statement. "We talked to many good candidates and couldn't be more pleased to add 'Mac' as our pitching coach."

Rod Nichols, who was interviewed for the pitching coach job, will remain bullpen coach. Jesus Tiamo will serve as bullpen catcher for the sixth season, the team announced.

McClure played 19 seasons as a lefthanded reliever for seven different teams. He served as pitching coach for Kansas City (2006-11) and Boston (2012).

His brief time as Red Sox pitching coach was tumultuous. McClure was hired by Boston as a special assistant before Bobby Valentine was named manager. He was later installed as Valentine's pitching coach. Valentine was said to be against the idea.

The boorish Valentine publicly criticized McClure, who was fired in late August. McClure was later accused of leaking information to media outlets about internal strife between the Boston clubhouse and front office, although that was never proven.

Boston's 4.70 ERA under McClure ranked 12th in the American League. A season later, the Red Sox pitched to a 3.79 mark en route to a championship. While with Kansas City, McClure oversaw the maturation of Zack Greinke from failed prospect to Cy Young Award winner.

After terminating Dubee, the Phillies said they preferred a coach with experience. They fancied Bryan Price, who never interviewed because he was offered Cincinnati's managerial job. They offered the job to Roger McDowell, Jim Benedict and Jeff Pico, according to a team source, but were rejected. McDowell remained Atlanta's pitching coach, Benedict stayed with Pittsburgh as a special assistant, and Pico accepted the Reds pitching coach job.

Nichols and triple-A Lehigh Valley coach Ray Burris interviewed for the job, but the Phillies decided long ago the hire would not come from within.

A second round of recent interviews bred four more candidates. That is, apparently, when McClure emerged.

Have a question? Send it to Matt Gelb's Mailbag.