Sox hitting coach has kind words for Bradenton prospect

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SARASOTA - Back in 1995, Greg Colbrunn was having his best year as a player with the Florida Marlins. Now he is hoping that he can help the Red Sox hitters have their best year.

Greg Colbrunn was a minor league hitting coach, low-level minors, near his home in Charleston, and he had no connection to the new Red Sox manager John Farrell, so he was surprised to get the job as their new hitting coach. "The last couple of years I have had some opportunities, and this past winter this job presented itself. I went up for the interview and everything fell into place."

Farrell and the Red Sox received great reviews on Colbrunn's work with hitters. The problem was, he was in the Yankees organization. The Red Sox had no problem cherry-picking a rising star from the Yankees, and ‘Colby’ had no problems switching allegiances. "It is pretty amazing. I spent time with 7 or 8 organizations as a player, and now, my first 2 teams I work for as a coach are the Red Sox and the Yankees. It is pretty strange."

While Colbrunn was with the Charleston Riverdogs, he worked with Bradenton native J.R. Murphy, who was the Yankees’ 2nd round pick in 2009, and he is ascending through the organization. “He is just a tremendous quality kid first of all. Also, he is very talented; very quick hands, drives the ball the other way, he does some excellent things, especially as a young hitter. I think he has a bright future ahead of him."

Murphy was a catcher in high school, but he has worked at several positions to help raise his stock even more. "Every year I have tried to improve catching-wise, because my hitting has been pretty consistent since I have signed. I see great strides moving forward catching-wise," says Murphy.

"His versatility may be one of his strengths that he uses to get to the big leagues. His bat is always going to be there. I think he is always going to hit," says Colbrunn.