Yankees hitting coach Sean Casey watches players warm up for...

Yankees hitting coach Sean Casey watches players warm up for a game against the Rockies on Friday in Denver. Credit: David Zalubowski

DENVER — Sean Casey was hired as the Yankees’ new hitting coach for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was the 12 seasons he spent in a big-league batter’s box.

And while no player had anything negative to say about the fired Dillon Lawson, who did not play in the majors, it was clear that the ebullient Casey and what he brings to the post went over well in the clubhouse.

“I think we all have a lot of respect for what he’s done on the field and he’s been a part of the game still to some extent [with MLB Network as an analyst the last 15 years],” DJ LeMahieu said Friday afternoon before the Yankees opened the season’s second half against the Rockies at Coors Field. “I think we’re all really excited about him.”

Six pitches into Friday night’s game, Casey was looking good. To the new coach’s delight, Gleyber Torres singled and Giancarlo Stanton hit a 455-foot two-run homer on an 0-and-2 pitch.

LeMahieu, who spent 2012-18 with the Rockies, is among a handful of veterans who the Yankees hope will be spurred by the coaching change. Also among those on that list: Stanton, Josh Donaldson and Anthony Rizzo.

“We’re all looking forward to it,” Donaldson said. “I think everybody has strengths and I think part of Sean Casey’s strengths is being in the batter’s box [in the majors]. I think there is some knowledge [that comes with that]. Also, kind of going through the ups and downs of a season and stuff like that. So I definitely think he’s going to have advice on things that he feels are going to be beneficial for us.”

Casey, hired earlier in the week, flew to Denver with the team Thursday afternoon. His energy and enthusiasm already were on full display on the flight, according to some of those on it.

When LeMahieu, Stanton, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Oswaldo Cabrera and Aaron Judge took some early batting practice on the field Friday, Casey watched from behind the cage and was seen talking, laughing at times and constantly gesticulating as he talked to players between rounds.

“One of the best hitters I saw as a kid growing up,” Judge said. “Getting a chance to pick his brain a little bit about some baseball things and his philosophy, I’m looking forward to it.”

Casey, 49, had a career slash line of .302/.367/.447, establishing career highs with a .332 average, a .938 OPS, 25 home runs and 99 RBIs in 1999. He never struck out more than 88 times and his 162-game average was 67 strikeouts.

Casey, who retired after the 2008 season, spent 15 years with MLB Network before Aaron Boone, one of his closest friends in the game after the pair overlapped in their playing days with the Reds, plucked him from that job for this one. Boone had tried to get Casey on his staff previously, but the timing was never right.

“This time he was all in. Everything kind of lined up in his life to be able to do it,” Boone said before Friday’s game. “I’ve known him for almost 30 years. He’s so passionate about hitting. He was a great hitter, obviously, and he’s able to talk about it.”

And talk about it from more than just a this-is-what-the-analytics-say perspective. Casey, while an analytics adherent, clearly believes there’s more to the game.

“I’m looking forward to relating to these guys,” he said. “There’s nothing [they’ve experienced] that I haven’t seen or experienced.”

Boone, while saying big-league experience “is never a prerequisite” to being an effective coach, the organizational belief, at least when it comes to the staff and players, is that it’s been a missing perspective.

“I do think one thing that will be a strength for him is his ability to relate and connect to what all these guys are going through,” Boone said. “Because he’s been where a lot of these guys have been and been through the ups and downs of it all, too. He definitely can relate and has that ability, just as a person, to be able to really connect with people.”

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