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Jim Hickey steps down as Cubs pitching coach

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This was unexpected, yet sort of expected.

Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

There has been speculation in recent weeks about the Cubs possibly replacing Jim Hickey as pitching coach.

And now, they will have to do so. From a team press release:

The Chicago Cubs today announced that Jim Hickey has elected to step down as major league pitching coach for personal reasons. A search for his replacement is underway.

Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein issued the following statement:

“Jim Hickey notified us yesterday of his decision to step down as pitching coach and leave the organization for personal reasons. We thank Jim for his season with the Cubs and his positive impact on our pitchers. Jim has our full support and we all wish him well.”

I’ll echo Theo’s statement — we don’t know the “personal reasons” and likely won’t, and so this simply ends Hickey’s one-year tenure as Cubs pitching coach.

He had been hired a year ago replacing Chris Bosio because of his long tenure with Joe Maddon in Tampa. Things didn’t work out well for the Cubs pitching staff, although in the end the bullpen did reasonably well and at least in the second half of the season, Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks had stretches of very good starts.

At this point, I don’t know who would be on track to replace him. I do know it’s November 20 and the Cubs will likely want to have someone in place soon.

As always, we await developments.