Johnny Narron named Brewers hitting coach
By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on November 29, 2011 1:48 PM
Johnny Narron has been around baseball his entire life.
As a player, an advisor and an assistant coach, Narron has made a name for himself as one of the game's top offensive instructors. On Monday afternoon, Narron accepted a new challenge and became the hitting coach for the Milwaukee Brewers.
"I have been an assistant coach for a long time now and taking the next step to become a hitting coach is something I have always wanted to do," Narron said. "The opportunity presented itself over the past few days and I was eager to take advantage."
Narron has spent the past four seasons as an assistant coach with the Texas Rangers. During that time he built relationships with several players and coaches, most notably with All-Star outfielder Josh Hamilton.
Hamilton overcame a well-chronicled battle with drug addiction during his minor league days and sought Narron for advice, both professional and personal. The pair of North Carolina natives became fast friends as well as coworkers with the Rangers.
"I love Josh Hamilton and he loves me, and that isn't going to change when I move to Milwaukee," Narron said. "It was tough to leave those relationships that I had built with the players in Texas, but the chance to be a hitting coach for another great organization was too good to pass on."
Narron will recultivate another long-time relationship when he lands in Milwaukee. He will join his brother Jerry Narron, the Brewers bench coach, for the second time in their respective coaching careers. Jerry was a special assistant for the Cincinnati Reds in 2007 when Jerry was the team's manager.
"Obviously it is special to get the opportunity to work together with Jerry again," Narron said. "We played together in the minor leagues a long time ago and we had that one year with the Reds, but now we have another chance to work side by side."
Narron's nephew, Sam, is a pitcher in the Brewers' organization.
Joining the National League Central Division champions will mean a whole new set of swings to look at for Narron as he adjusts to the intricacies of the different style of play.
"Obviously the game is played a little different in the National League," Narron said. "With the pitchers hitting, it puts more emphasis on moving runners and getting guys home when you have them in scoring position."
Taking over an offensive-minded lineup that includes NL Most Valuable Player Ryan Braun, standout second baseman Ricky Weeks and fleet-footed Corey Hart should help Narron adjust quickly.
"Overall my philosophy is not going to change," Narron said. "We are going to be aggressive in the strike zone, we are going to be confident with two strikes and we are going to attack at the plate and on the bases."
Narron will go to Milwaukee for the team's annual "Fan Fest" and then begin breaking down video of Brewer hitters over the next six weeks.
"I want to help the Milwaukee Brewers win a championship, plain and simple," Narron said. "That begins with talking to players and evaluating what they did last season, then probably an early report to spring training."