Former Buffalo infielder Matt Hague, who was the International League's most valuable player in 2015, has been promoted to the Bisons as their hitting coach for the 2023 season as the Toronto Blue Jays announced their minor league coaching assignments on Wednesday.
Hague, who was the hitting coach the last two years at Double-A New Hampshire, replaces Corey Hart on the Buffalo staff as the Jays unveiled several changes under manager Casey Candaele. The new pitching coach will be Tim Norton, a former Yankees farmhand who has coached in multiple organizations since 2012 and served last year as an assistant at Georgia Tech.
Jeff Ware, Buffalo's pitching coach and interim manager last season, has been promoted to bullpen coach in Toronto while Hart will be a hitting coach for Toronto's low Class A team at its spring training complex in Dunedin, Fla. Former Blue Jays center fielder Devon White, who had been on the Buffalo staff in a variety of roles since 2017, has been named a special assistant to the player development department.
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Hague, 37, will continue in his spring role as the swing consultant for the Toronto minor-league system. He played 13 games for the Bisons in 2014 after being acquired off waivers from Pittsburgh and then put together one of the best years in franchise history the following season.
Hague played 136 games for the Herd in 2015, leading the league in average (.338), hits (177) and on-base percentage. He finished second in doubles (33) and RBIs (92). His average and hit total were both second in the franchise's modern era while the OBP was a then-franchise mark.
Hague joined Cleveland-era shortstop Jhonny Peralta (2004) as the only modern-era MVP winners in franchise history. He was named an IL All-Star, both at midseason and postseason, and earned the Bisons' MVP award and the Jimmy Griffin Hometown Hero Award for his play at Coca-Cola Field, then the ballpark's name.
Hague's playing career ended in 2018 at Syracuse and he joined the Blue Jays as a coach in 2020 at Class A Dunedin before the pandemic canceled the season.
Justin Echevarria takes over from White as Buffalo's new position coach after serving as the hitting coach for Class A Dunedin last season. Jake McGuiggan is back for his third season as development coach and Carson Phillips has been named bullpen coach.
The Bisons open the season March 31 at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre with the home opener set for April 4 at 2:05 p.m. vs. Worcester.