Chippewa Falls native Joe Vavra has been named the hitting coach for the Detroit Tigers, the Major League Baseball team announced on Monday.
Vavra had spent the previous two seasons as a quality control coach for the Tigers, coming to the organization after the team hired Ron Gardenhire as manager.
Vavra replaces Lloyd McClendon, who is moving from hitting coach to bench coach for the team.
The rebuilding Tigers finished with a 47-114 record this season, fifth in the American League Central Division.
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Vavra was the hitting coach for the Minnesota Twins under Gardenhire from 2006-2012 as a part of his 16 seasons with the organization. Vavra later served as the team’s third base coach as well as a bench coach from 2015-17 under Paul Molitor.
Vavra graduated from Chi-Hi in 1978 before playing baseball at UW-Stout. He was drafted in the eighth round of the 1982 MLB First Year Player Draft and played for five seasons in the minors before moving into coaching and player development.
After his playing days, Vavra spent 13 seasons in the Dodgers organization before joining the Twins.
Vavra’s three sons Tanner, Treysen and Terrin were each selected in the MLB Draft. The 22-year-old Terrin just completed his second full season in the Colorado Rockies organization, hitting .318 with a .409 on-base percentage while hitting 10 home runs and driving in 52 runs for the organization’s Class-A Ashville team.