Daily Herald
How hard will Hendry chase Texas batting coach?
By Bruce Miles | Daily Herald Staff
Published: 10/16/2009 12:03 AM

If there's one thing known about Cubs GM Jim Hendry after all these years, it's that he tends to focus "like a laser beam," to use an old presidential campaign phrase, on what he wants every off-season.

The Hendry Laser Light Show legacy includes Lou Piniella, Dusty Baker, Milton Bradley, LaTroy Hawkins, Alfonso Soriano, Mike Remlinger and Kosuke Fukudome, to name a few.

It should be interesting to see if and how hard Hendry goes after hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo, who just parted ways with the Texas Rangers after 15 seasons.

According to mlb.com, Jaramillo is under contract through Oct. 31, but the Rangers will grant permission for other clubs to interview him.

Even though first baseman Derrek Lee expressed his feelings on the last day of the season that hitting coaches are overrated, Hendry doesn't believe that at all.

Lee is talented enough to know his own swing, and Cubs hitting coaches have pretty much left him alone. But others such as Ryan Theriot, Geovany Soto, Mike Fontenot and even high-priced players such as Alfonso Soriano fall into patterns that call for help from a hitting coach.

While Jaramillo has had a long and successful career as a hitting coach, there are some interesting parallels between the Cubs and Rangers from 2008 to 2009:

In 2008, the Rangers led the major leagues in runs scored, with 901. They fell to 784 runs this year, seventh in the American League.

The Cubs led the NL in runs scored in 2008, with 855. They fell to 707 this year, or 10th in the NL.

• For more on the Cubs search for a hitting coach, check out Bruce Miles' blog, Chicago's Inside Pitch, at blogs.dailyherald.com.