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While change seemed likely for the Red Sox coaching staff in the wake of an 84-78 season, the first known alteration to the group comes as something of a surprise.

According to multiple industry sources, the Red Sox informed Andy Barkett he is being let go after two years as assistant hitting coach. During Barkett’s time under hitting coach Tim Hyers, the Red Sox ranked in the top three in the majors in runs per game (5.48, second), batting average (.269, first), on-base percentage (.339, second), slugging (.460, third), and OPS (.799, third).

Barkett came to the Red Sox after a dozen seasons as a minor league coach, coordinator, and manager, most recently as the manager of the Pirates’ Triple A affiliate in 2017. Prior to that, he had spent two years as a hitting coordinator in the Pirates and Marlins farm systems, following four years as a manager of Marlins minor league affiliates and four more managing in the Tigers system from 2007-10, at a time when Dave Dombrowski was team president.

The bilingual Barkett worked closely with Rafael Devers in 2018 and 2019 as the young third baseman learned to develop a pregame routine and how to use technology and data to game-plan. Barkett also got frequent morning entreaties from Mookie Betts to do early work in the batting cage.

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While Barkett worked well with members of the Red Sox, he was informed by the team that his strengths as a communicator seemed better suited for a different coaching track — perhaps that of a third base or bench coach, or manager. Barkett was told that none of those positions were expected to be available with the Red Sox, so they wanted to let him explore opportunities elsewhere.

The Red Sox will seek someone with a different — presumably more analytically based — skill set for the position of assistant hitting coach.

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Hyers is expected to return as hitting coach.


Alex Speier can be reached at alex.speier@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @alexspeier.