According to Craig Mish of SiriusXM, the Pirates have recently interviewed Los Angeles first base coach George Lombard to fill their vacancy resulting from the departure of long-time skipper Clint Hurdle.
The 44-year-old Lombard has been serving as the Dodgers’ first base, outfield and baserunning coach since 2015, the same year the legendary Davey Lopes left a similar position with the team.
Lombard, who last played at age 31 in 2006, was once committed to play football at the University of Georgia as a heavily recruited running back, but ultimately chose baseball as his desired career path.
The Atlanta native was drafted by his hometown Braves in the second round of the 1994 MLB draft. He would ultimately go on to play for four different teams over a six year career, and eventually begin his coaching endeavors as a hitting coach for the Low-A Lowell Spinners in 2010.
Lombard was promoted to numerous positions throughout the Boston farm system, holding down spots anywhere from manager of the Gulf Coast Red Sox to outfield and baserunning coordinator for Triple-A Pawtucket. Before the 2015 season, he was hired by the Braves as a field coordinator.
Although he never officially played for the Dodgers, he was a non-roster invitee to the Dodgers’ spring training camp in 2008 and made the trip with a split squad to play the first-ever major league games in China. In the process, he achieved what is perhaps his biggest claim to fame—becoming the first American baseball player to hit a home run on Chinese soil.
Baserunning and positional range were Lombard’s best tools as a player. In his brief major-league career (144 games in six seasons), Lombard stole 23 bases in 25 attempts.
“When Dave (Roberts) called me and presented this opportunity it was something I couldn’t pass on,” Lombard told reporters not long after being hired by the Dodgers. “Teaching is the fun part. Dealing with the players and seeing a player progress and being able to put your hands on them and help them progress — that’s the rewarding part. And it’s fun. I feel like I’ve never worked a day in my life.”
The Pirates fired Hurdle with one game remaining in the 2019 regular season. He managed the club for nine years.
Lombard joins Geren among a group of highly respected coaches who are being considered for multiple spots around baseball.
At the end of the 2018 season, Dodgers’ third base coach Chris Woodward started an exodus that saw him accept the managerial spot for the Rangers. Within days, Turner Ward snagged the hitting coach job in Cincinnati. A short time later, Farhan Zaidi was named the new president of baseball operations for the Dodgers’ biggest NL West rival, the Giants.