- Extra-time goal gives Germany World Cup title over Argentina
- Strong quake hits Japan, triggering tsunami
- Sniper heaven: Pentagon’s self-guided bullets leave enemies nowhere to hide
- Violent gang taking advantage of immigration crisis, using border as recruiting hub
- Medicaid enrollment continues to soar under Obamacare, administration says
- Michelle Obama to Latinos: ‘We cannot afford to wait on Congress’ for immigration
- White House urges GOP to act ‘urgently’ on $3.7 billion request for illegal immigrants
- Politicians, criminals using ‘right-to-be-forgotten’ law EU courts forced upon Google
- Combat fatigue: elite special forces troops are ‘fraying,’ Gen. Joseph Votel warns
- German foreign minister to meet Kerry to discuss spying claims
Angels fire hitting coach Mickey Hatcher
Question of the Day
ANAHEIM, CALIF. (AP) - The Los Angeles Angels fired hitting coach Mickey Hatcher on Tuesday after Albert Pujols and many of his teammates got off to dismal offensive start this season.
Hatcher's dismissal was announced about 90 minutes after the Angels had 12 hits in a 4-0 victory over Oakland. A day earlier, Los Angeles lost 5-0 to the Athletics _ its major league-worst eighth shutout loss already this season.
Los Angeles promoted hitting coach Jim Eppard from Triple-A Salt Lake to replace Hatcher, who had been with the Angels since manager Mike Scioscia _ his former Dodgers teammate _ took over the club in 2000. A 12-year major league veteran as a player, Hatcher was the Angels' hitting coach during their only World Series title run in 2002.
"Offensively we have underachieved, and everyone shares in the responsibility of what has transpired thus far," Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said.
That's putting it mildly for a club with one of the majors' highest payrolls and enormous expectations for this season.
Los Angeles (16-21) has scored just 134 runs, ranking 22nd in the majors while setting a club record for shutout losses at this point in the season. The Angels' on-base percentage is .301, worse than all but three teams.
Although Hatcher's job description probably didn't include fixing Pujols, the $240 first baseman is having trouble in his first six weeks with the Angels, batting .212 with just one homer. The three-time NL MVP boosted his average 15 points Tuesday with three infield singles, driving in two runs.
Hatcher also angered Pujols a few weeks ago when he shared a few innocuous details about a team meeting with reporters. Pujols said he planned to talk to Hatcher about keeping clubhouse discussions private, although neither man commented about what happened after that.
Just three seasons ago, Hatcher presided over a roster that set several franchise records for hitting and fielded a lineup with nine .300 hitters while the Angels reached the ALCS. These days, few Angels are having offensive seasons that aren't embarrassing.
Shortstop Erick Aybar, who got a $35 million contract last month, is batting .187, and outfielder Peter Bourjos has been benched after his .193 start. New catcher Chris Iannetta slumped to .197 before going on the disabled list, and Bobby Abreu was batting just .208 before Los Angeles released him.
High-priced outfielder Vernon Wells is in his second straight middling season, batting .242 with five homers. Howie Kendrick, an All-Star last season, is batting just .273.
Eppard worked with Bourjos, Mark Trumbo and Mike Trout in the minors while spending the last 10 years at Salt Lake. He played four years in the majors for the Angels and Toronto.
Scioscia said nothing about Hatcher's departure Tuesday after the Angels' win over Oakland.
"We think the absolute world of Mickey as a person and thank him for all of his contributions to this organization," Dipoto said.
By Robert N. Tracci
Congress must use its appropriations power to secure the border
- DOJ investigates Nebraska parade float critical of Obama
- A 'new Cold War': China's top paper warns of 'slippery slope' towards conflict with U.S.
- Violent gang MS-13 taking advantage of immigration crisis, using border as recruiting hub
- Agency scrubs Malia Obama photos at White House's request: report
- New York City creates ID card so 500K illegal immigrants can get services
- Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi formerly a U.S. captive
- CURL: The hypocrisy of Obama's 15-day Vineyard vacation
- Germany wins World Cup title on Mario Goetze goal in extra time
- Pentagon's self-guided bullets leave enemies nowhere to hide
- Economists see signs of another market bubble
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq
World Cup's sexiest WAGs