The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are making changes to their ball club and the hitting coach is taking the fall for the anemic offensive production in the 2012 season thus far.
Mickey Hatcher has been fired as the Angels hitting coach. This move is more of a statement by the Angels organization to show that they will not sit around and let their talented team slack all season long.
With players like $254 million man Albert Pujols struggling mightily, such a move was inevitable by the Angel front office. Hatcher is the first victim to their awful start and it is going to be interesting to see if anybody else goes down with him in the upcoming weeks.
Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a statement:
We think the absolute world of Mickey as a person and thank him for all of his contributions to this organization. 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.
It is an unfortunate turn of events for a struggling team and there are bound to be unhappy members of the team.
Mark Trumbo, who is enjoying a good season at the plate and blasting home runs while trying to find a place on the field to regularly play in, tweeted after the move was announced:
You will not find a harder working or more caring coach than Mickey Hatcher. Always had my best interest at heart and brought great energy.— Mark Trumbo (@Mtrumbo44) May 16, 2012
The players will now have to get used to a new hitting coach now in the midst of the season. Hatcher will be replaced by Jim Eppard, the hitting coach from the Angels' Salt Lake City Triple-A affiliate.
The firing has to be particularly hard on the Angels manager Mike Scioscia, who coached with Hatcher in Albuquerque before joining the Angels in 1999. They also were teammates on the 1988 World Series champion Dodgers team.
Hatcher was in his 13th year as the Angels hitting coach and never had a problem before this season. He was the longest tenured coach in the league prior his firing.