Red Sox

McAdam: New hire for Red Sox illustrates how role of bench coach has changed

(Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

Like seemingly everything else in baseball, the role of bench coach is currently evolving.

When the position first became popularized some 20 or so years ago, the bench coach was seen as someone who could serve as an in-game guide and navigator for the manager. Picture a travel companion -- in the pre-GPS era -- on a long cross-country trek, sitting in the passenger seat,  offering directions, monitoring levels and suggestions for upcoming rest stops.

In a baseball sense, the job was to offer helpful reminders about who was due up the next inning for the opposition, prepare reserve players for pinch-hitting or pinch-running situations and analyze matchups while serving as a sounding board for the manager.

When Alex Cora was first hired by the Red Sox two years ago, Cora had only spent one season in the dugout, serving, ironically, as a bench coach. He had little experience running a game and balancing the innumerable decisions that have to made over the course of a given game.