Grace joins coaching staff for Opening Series

Grace joins coaching staff for Opening Series

SYDNEY -- D-backs general manager Kevin Towers confirmed Tuesday that former first baseman Mark Grace will serve as the team's assistant hitting coach for the Opening Series against the Dodgers.

The D-backs left that position on the coach staff open this winter and have an agreement with Henry Blanco that if he does not win the backup catching job this spring, he will take over that role.

That would mean Grace would be the hitting coach at short-season Class A Hillsboro as initially planned. However, if Blanco makes the team, Grace will serve as assistant hitting coach.

With Blanco set to be on the roster for the two-game series against the Dodgers, Grace will fill the role. The team will make a final determination on the situation prior to the March 31 U.S. opener against the Giants.

Grace played for the D-backs from 2001-03, and he was a television broadcaster for them from 2004-12.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.