Angels hitting coach Mickey Hatcher was fired by the team on Tuesday night. (Bruce Kluckhohn / Getty…)
The Angels fired hitting coach Mickey Hatcher on Tuesday night in the wake of the team's disappointing performance at the plate through the first month and a half of the season.
Hatcher will be replaced by Jim Eppard, the hitting coach from the Angels' triple-A affiliate in Salt Lake City. The move was made after the Angels' 4-0 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday. The Angels lost to the A's, 5-0, on Monday.
“We think the absolute world of Mickey as a person and thank him for all of his contributions to this organization,” Angels General Manager Jerry Dipoto said in a statement. "Sometimes in the sports world a point is reached where perhaps a new voice is needed in order to attain the desired goals and objectives. Unfortunately we feel this is one of those times. Offensively we have underachieved and everyone shares in the responsibility of what has transpired thus far."
Hatcher, 57, was a little more than a month into his 13th year as the Angels' hitting coach. The former Dodger was a part of the Angels' 2002 World Series-winning team and helped the team set franchise records for batting average (.285), hits (1,604), runs (883) and runs batted in (841) during the 2009 season.
However, the lack of offensive production has been one of the major culprits in the Angels' slow start this season. The Angels rank 22nd in the majors in runs scored (134) and have been shut out a club-record eight times.
Albert Pujols, perhaps the biggest free-agent acquisition ever made by the franchise, has struggled mightily at the plate. He enters Wednesday's game against the Chicago White Sox batting .212 with one home run.
Hatcher played 12 seasons in the major leagues before joining the Texas Rangers' coaching staff in 1993. He then served as hitting coach with Albuquerque under manager Mike Scioscia before joining him with the Angels in 1999.
Eppard, 52, who played professionally for 12 years, has been with Salt Lake City for 10 years. He has worked with several current Angels, including Mark Trumbo and Peter Bourjos.
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