Former Astros slugger Jeff Bagwell will begin his tenure as the club’s hitting coach on Thursday night, as Houston opens the second half of the 2010 season with a series against the Pirates. Alyson Footer, who works for the team as senior director of social media, passes along this photo.
Bagwell looks like he could strap up the cleats and hit a few out of Pittsburgh’s PNC Park tonight, but that is not his mission. The 42-year-old will try his best to help the Astros climb out of Major League Baseball’s offensive cellar.
Entering the All-Star break, the Astros ranked 28th in the league in runs scored, 29th in batting average, 29th in slugging percentage and tied for dead last in home runs with 57. Bagwell, of course, was known for hitting dingers during his 15-year professional career and will try to pass along some knowledge.
Of course, it can be debated whether or not a hitting coach has any impact on the performance of athletes who have been playing the game at the highest level for years. Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle, for one, thinks the Bagwell hire was all part of a lame public relations ploy and that former batting coach Sean Berry should have never been dumped from his post.
Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association announced this morning that they are contributing $250,000 to assist victims of the devastating floods that recently hit Louisiana.
The $250,000 contribution is being divided among three charitable organizations: The American Red Cross will receive a $125,000 contribution and two charities connected to Major League Players – the Baton Rouge Area Foundation and High Socks for Hope – will each receive a $62,500 contribution.
According to the joint press release, several players with connections to the area, including Reid Brignac, Will Harris, Wade LeBlanc, Mikie Mahtook, Anthony Ranaudo and Ryan Schimpf were consulted in determining which organizations would receive funding support.
Nice move, union and league.
We mentioned this in the recaps this morning but Yoenis Cespedes deserves a post of his own.
He deserves it for his walkoff homer in the tenth inning of last night’s game against the Marlins. He deserves it for the fact that he’s hit five homers and has driven in nine runs in his last ten games while raising his batting average ten points. And, most of all, he deserves it for the magnificent bat flip after watching the ball fly:
Here’s the whole play from MLB.com: