On the day Albert Pujols enjoyed his first three-hit game in a month and the Los Angeles Angels had 12 hits in a win over the Oakland Athletics, the club fired longtime hitting coach Mickey Hatcher.
Those sorts of games had become rare for a club that is expected to challenge the Texas Rangers in the American League West, and instead had bogged down under an offense that ranked second-to-last in the league. The Angels have been shut out eight times, most in the league.
Hatcher was in his 13th season with the Angels, having come into the organization with manager Mike Scioscia. General manager Jerry Dipoto made the announcement, and it is unknown if Scioscia, who frequently defended Hatcher during trying offensive periods, agreed with the decision.
"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," Dipoto said in a statement. "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."
Jim Eppard, the organization's Triple-A hitting coach, was named to replace Hatcher. Eppard has been with the Angels for a decade.
He inherits a club that, in spite of the offseason acquisition of Pujols, is in the bottom half of the league in most offensive categories. Pujols, in particular, has struggled, having gone six weeks with one home run, 14 RBIs and a .212 batting average.
The Angels are on pace to score 603 runs, their fewest in 36 years, and nearly 300 fewer than they scored in 2009.
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