The Yankees announced Monday that they’ve hired James Rowson as their new hitting coach. He’d reportedly been offered the position last week.
Rowson, 47, is no stranger to the Yankees organization, having spent nine years as a minor league hitting coach and minor league hitting coordinator. He’s spent the past nine seasons on Major League coaching staffs, most recently working with the 2023 Tigers as their assistant hitting coach. Rowson has also served as a bench coach and “offensive coordinator” with the Marlins and the hitting coach with the Twins.
The 2024 season will be Rowson’s tenth on a Major League staff. Perhaps most notable on his resume was his third and final season in Minnesota, when he was the hitting coach for a Twins roster that set a Major League record with 307 home runs on the season. The year of the Twins’ “Bomba Squad,” as they were nicknamed, coincided with MLB’s juiced ball season, but it was nonetheless an impressive season for the lineup and one for which Rowson drew plenty of credit. The Marlins offered him a promotion and hired him away from Minnesota that offseason.
Rowson will replace outgoing hitting coach Sean Casey, who took the role midseason after the Yankees fired Dillon Lawson. Casey seemed to make an immediate impression on Yankees hitters, but after spending half a year on the job, he came to the conclusion that the time away from his family over the course of a full season would simply be too much. Casey said on October 25 that he planned to return home to spend more time with his two young daughters, stating that time for him simply isn’t “perfect” at this juncture. He did leave the door open for a possible return to coaching “in the next few years.”
With this hire, the Yankees are trotting out their fourth hitting coach in as many seasons and surely hoping that Rowson will have some staying power. The Yanks opted not to retain Marcus Thames following the 2021 season, and they’ve since quickly moved on from Lawson and seen Casey cite family reasons for his own departure. There’s always the possibility, of course, that another club will pry Rowson away with for a more prominent role. In addition to his three seasons as a bench coach in Miami, he’s also previously interviewed for the Twins’ managerial vacancy that went to Rocco Baldelli and was reportedly one of three finalists in the Red Sox’ most recent managerial search. That only speaks to how well regarded Rowson is throughout the industry, however.