Former player turned coach and manager, Mendy Lopez, has found himself back in the Big Leagues as the Pittsburgh Pirates have promoted him to the team’s Major League coaching staff.
The Pirates made the announcement Tuesday that Lopez would be joining the ranks in Pittsburgh after most recently serving as a hitting coach for the Low-A Bradenton Marauders. Lopez is not slated to replace anyone at this time, but is certainly an interesting addition for manager Derek Shelton.
Lopez is expected to take on infield coaching duties in Pittsburgh. Bench coach Don Kelly has been known to split time between coaching the infield as well as managing the bench, so perhaps some new found continuity will sure up that position group. At the very least, the Dominican native may be able to build some chemistry between fellow Latin American players O’neil Cruz and Rodolfo Castro, further insuring the connection between the second baseman and shortstop.
Many remember Lopez as a Big League player, spending seven years in the MLB. Lopez played mostly for the Royals but did suit up for Pittsburgh in 25 contests in 2001-2002. Following his MLB career, he would play out the rest of his days in Japan and Mexico, before transitioning to coaching.
The Pittsburgh connection is much deeper than 25 games too. Lopez previously worked as the Pirates’ Latin American field coordinator as well as managing the Pirates in the Dominican Summer League from 2014-2016.
The promotion of Lopez while probably not earth shattering for the Pirates, should be one to remember as he has a good resume as a player, and as a coach/manager within the Pirates’ system.