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Washington Nationals reportedly working towards deal to make Darnell Coles new hitting coach

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Kevin Long’s potential replacement is someone with history in the Nationals’ organization, and he has some history with the Nats’ skipper...

Washington Nationals Photo Day Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images

MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand was first to report on Friday that Washington’s Nationals and Darnell Coles were working on a deal to bring the one-time coach and manager in the organization back into the fold as the big league hitting coach.

Coles, 59, is a 14-year veteran in the majors who transitioned into coaching after his playing career in the U.S. and Japan ended in 1997.

Hired as a roving hitting instructor in the Nationals’ system in 2006, Coles moved around in the organization, coaching and managing with several affiliates before leaving and going on to work in the Milwaukee Brewers’ system, working as a hitting instructor before he left for a job as an assistant hitting coach with the Detroit Tigers in 2014.

He returned to the Brewers as their hitting coach in 2015, and remained in the role until 2018 when he was hired by the Arizona Diamondbacks as their big league hitting coach, remaining in that role until this fall when the D-backs parted ways with Coles and other coaches.

As Washington Post writer Jesse Dougherty noted previously, and now-former first base coach Randy Knorr told FBB’s David Driver, Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez and Coles have history from their playing days, living near one another in Clearwater, FL, where the two of them and others worked out together during their playing days, and vacationed at times with their families, including one cruise to the Bahamas that apparently included a night out which saw them stuck in a casino that was held up.

Coles, if a deal is completed, will be replacing Kevin Long, who spent four seasons as the hitting coach in the nation’s capital before moving on to sign with the Philadelphia Phillies this week, explaining in an interview on Zoom introducing him to the Philly beat writers that when he talked to Nationals’ executives after the season ended it was clear that they were not on the same page as far as a new deal.

“I had talked to [GM] Mike Rizzo and the Nationals about a contract, and we were just far apart on numbers, so we needed to, or I felt like it was best for me to seek permission to talk to other teams,” Long explained.

There is no official word on Coles and the Nationals agreeing to a deal, or any word on the length or details on a potential contract in D.C. More info when it’s available...