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Blanco takes job as D-backs' assistant hitting coach

Blanco takes job as D-backs' assistant hitting coach

PHOENIX -- After taking a day to think about it, veteran catcher Henry Blanco decided to accept the D-backs' offer to join their Major League coaching staff.

Blanco, 42, signed a Minor League contract during the offseason with the understanding that if he did not win the backup catching job, he would become the team's assistant hitting coach. After a tough battle, Blanco was edged out for the spot by Tuffy Gosewisch.

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When he was informed of the decision Saturday, Blanco spent a day looking to see if there might be a big league job available for him, but when he discovered there was not one to be had, he accepted the coaching job.

"It's been crazy the first day," Blanco said after going from a hitters' meeting to batting practice.

Blanco began his professional career in 1990, and since 1999, he has spent at least part of every season in the big leagues.

While he didn't 100 percent rule out getting back onto the field again, he said it would have to be a really good opportunity to get him to leave.

"I'm more now a coach," he said. "I think this is a good opportunity to stay here in Arizona."

Mark Grace, who had been filling in on the coaching staff while Blanco tried to win a job, will now go back to his original position and be the hitting coach for Class A Short-Season Hillsboro in the Northwest League.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. 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.

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