Diamondbacks add Steve Sax to coaching staff

Ex-Yankee signs on as Kirk Gibson's first base coach
12/20/2012 2:40 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Steve Sax played for the Yankees from 1989-91 and hit .294 in pinstripes.(Bleeding Yankee Blue)
The Arizona Diamondbacks have already signed a trio of former Yankees as free agents this winter, and on Wednesday, they added one to their coaching staff as well.

Steve Sax, who played second base for the Yankees from 1989-91, was hired by the Diamondbacks as first base coach, with good friend and current Arizona manager Kirk Gibson saying that Sax would also help the team with baserunning, game strategy, and outfield play.

Sax, now 52, and Gibson were teammates with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1988, and Sax was the man on deck when Gibson hit his famous walk-off home run to win Game 1 of the 1988 World Series. The second baseman signed with the Yankees as a free agent that winter, and he hit .294 with 117 stolen bases in three seasons in pinstripes before being traded to Chicago in January 1992.

The 1982 NL Rookie of the Year, Sax played 14 seasons for the Dodgers, Yankees, White Sox, and Athletics, hitting .281 with 444 career steals and appearing in five All-Star Games. He has been a professional motivational speaker since retiring in 1994 and has written a book in leadership, but said on a conference call that he has long hoped an opportunity to return to the Majors might come.

"I've been thinking about this for a number of years," Sax said.

Sax also said that he had sent out resumes and went to MLB’s Winter Meetings in Nashville, where he met with the Diamondbacks, to explore the possibilities.

“It was certainly a long process to get Steve,” Arizona general manager Kevin Towers said, adding that Sax “came into the picture later."

The Diamondbacks also added a second ex-Major Leaguer to their staff Wednesday as well, promoting longtime outfielder Turner Ward – who managed Arizona’s Double-A squad in Mobile to back-to-back Southern League crowns in 2011 and 2012 – to the Majors as their assistant hitting coach.

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