This is a rough time to be a hitting coach.
Philadelphia fired Greg Gross yesterday, Kansas City fired Kevin Seitzer this morning, and now Seattle announced that Chris Chambliss was let go after the Mariners ranked dead last among AL teams in scoring during each of his two seasons on the job.
It’s tough to argue with a hitting coach being fired after back-to-back seasons ranking dead last in hitting, but Safeco Field being so pitcher-friendly that the Mariners are moving the fences in obviously explains a lot of the team’s ugly numbers offensively. Seattle ranked fifth in road scoring this season, although they were also dead last in road scoring last year.
And now the Mariners’ next hitting coach gets to benefit from the automatic jump in raw offensive numbers that will come as a result of the fences coming in.
We learned on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu won one of the final two spots in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Brandon McCarthy has won the other, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports. Alex Wood was McCarthy’s competitor for the spot.
McCarthy, 33, posted a 4.85 ERA across four appearances spanning 13 innings this spring, yielding seven earned runs on 14 hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. Wood, a southpaw, gave up five earned runs in six innings against the Reds on Tuesday, which might have factored into the decision.
Last season, McCarthy made nine starts and one relief appearance, posting a 4.95 ERA with a 44/26 K/BB ratio in 40 innings. In the event McCarthy falters, the club has Wood as well as Julio Urias and the injured Scott Kazmir as potential replacements.
The Yankees have re-signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Niese was released on Sunday, but he’ll stick around and provide rotation depth for the Yankees.
Niese had knee surgery last August and got a late start to spring training as a result. In six spring appearances lasting an inning each, the lefty gave up three earned runs on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts.
Niese, a veteran of nine seasons, put up an aggregate 5.50 ERA with an 88/47 K/BB ratio in 121 innings last season between the Pirates and Mets.