Mike Barnett replaces Jeff Bagwell as Astros hitting coach

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After spending the second half as the Astros’ hitting coach Jeff Bagwell stepped down from the position last month, citing the need to spend more time with his family and the longer-than-expected hours involved in the job.

Today the Astros announced that Mike Barnett will replace Bagwell as hitting coach, putting him in charge of an offense that ranked dead last or second-worst among NL teams in runs, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, walks, and homers.

Barnett has spent the past two seasons as the Astros’ minor league hitting coordinator, so he’s worked with most of the young players on the roster already, and before that he had multi-year stints as hitting coach for the Royals and Blue Jays.

Braves sign David Hernandez

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Bill Whitehead of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that the Braves have signed reliever David Hernandez to a minor league contract on Sunday. He’ll report to spring training as a non-roster invitee.

Hernandez, who turns 32 years old in May, signed a minor league contract with the Giants in February. He requested and was granted his release on Friday when he learned he wasn’t making the team’s 25-man roster to open the season.

Hernandez pitched for the Phillies last year. He compiled a 3.84 ERA with an 80/32 K/BB ratio in 72 2/3 innings.

Dave Roberts: It “doesn’t make sense” for Scott Kazmir to start year in Dodgers’ rotation

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Scott Kazmir won’t begin the regular season in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Manager Dave Roberts said after Kazmir’s Cactus League outing on Sunday that it “doesn’t make sense” for the ailing Kazmir to break camp in the rotation, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. The lefty will instead rehab some more and join the rotation at a later time.

Kazmir has been battling a hip issue which has caused his mechanics to suffer. He was clocked in the low 80’s 10 days ago and wasn’t much better on Sunday afternoon.

Last season with the Dodgers, Kazmir posted a 4.56 ERA with a 134/52 K/BB ratio in 136 1/3 innings, his worst numbers since returning to the majors in 2013.