Padres hire Phil Plantier as hitting coach

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According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Padres have hired Phil Plantier as hitting coach.

Plantier, 42, had been serving as manager at the Padres’ single affiliate in Lake Elsinore, California.

He was a big league outfielder from 1990-1997, batting .243/.332/.439 with 91 home runs in 610 games, 298 of which he played with San Diego.

In 1993, by far his best season, Plantier had an .843 OPS and 34 home runs for a 72-90 Padres team.

He’ll be taking the place of Randy Ready, who was let go in late September after a brutal offensive campaign that sunk the Friars to a 71-91 record. With a batting order that should improve in 2012 but only mildly, Plantier will be facing a challenge.

The Angels to lower the right field wall

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The Los Angeles Angels announced today that they will lower the right field wall at Angel Stadium from 18 feet to eight feet.

The stated reason: to make room for a new out-of-town scoreboard and “philosophical changes.” Obviously, though, helping out lefty power hitters is on the agenda too. As it was, Angel Stadium was in the bottom ten of all parks in allowing homers for lefties.

One of their own lefties is Kole Calhoun, who is a pull hitter. Another one could be Shohei Ohtani, who is a lefty hitter. Although, as a righty pitcher, that could harm him against opposing lefty batters. I’m assuming, though, that the Angels ran a bunch of numbers to establish that this move helps them more than it hurts them, or else they wouldn’t be doing it.