Jim Hickey steps down as Cubs pitching coach for personal reasons

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 12: Pitching coach Jim Hickey of the Chicago Cubs walks across the field in the sixth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Wrigley Field on May 12, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

CHICAGO – For a second-straight year, Joe Maddon will have two new voices in the dugout for the 2019 season.

On Tuesday, Cubs pitching coach Jim Hickey announced that he was stepping down from the position after just one season. He cited personal reasons in a release from the team.

“Jim Hickey notified us yesterday of his decision to step down as pitching coach and leave the organization for personal reasons.,” said team president Theo Epstein in a release from the organization. “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.”

Hickey came to Chicago after 11 seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays, in which he worked as a pitching coach for Maddon during part of that time. In his one season with the Cubs, Hickey’s pitching staff ranked third in Major League Baseball in ERA at 3.65, though their strikeouts ranked 19th in the league (1,333), down from 8th the year before.

In 2017, Hickey replaced Chris Bosio as head coach after he was let go following the team’s loss in the National League Championship Series.

This is the second major move for the Cubs’ coaching staff after hitting coach Chili Davis was let go after the season following a bad finish to the season. Anthony Iapoce was named his successor in October, marking the third-straight year the position has turned over.