Dave Hansen will not return as Dodgers’ hitting coach next season

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According to Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times, the Dodgers announced yesterday that Dave Hansen will not return as hitting coach next season. Meanwhile, pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, bench coach Trey Hillman, third base coach Tim Wallach, first base coach Davey Lopes and bullpen coach Kenny Howell are all slated to return.

Hansen was promoted from hitting instructor to hitting coach last July after Jeff Pentland was fired, but he’s taking the hit after the Dodgers finished 16th in batting average and 26th in runs and on-base percentage this season. However, he has been offered another position within the organization.

No word on a potential replacement for Hansen, but Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune speculated this morning that Rudy Jaramillo could be a potential fit. Jaramillo was fired as hitting coach of the Cubs in June during his third season on the job. One of the more highly-respected hitting instructors in the game, the 61-year-old previously served as hitting coach with the Rangers from 1995-2009.

Of course, whoever replaces Hansen will look like a genius if the Dodgers get full and healthy seasons from the likes of Matt Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez and Carl Crawford.

The Braves cave, a little anyway, on their outside food policy

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On Friday the Atlanta Braves announced a new policy for outside food, prohibiting ticket holders from bringing in their own. This was a reversal of their old policy — and the policies of the majority of teams around the league — which allowe fans to bring in soft-sided coolers with their own food and beverages, at least as long as the beverages were sealed.

The Braves claimed that the policy change was “a result of tighter security being put into place this season throughout the league,” but this was clearly untrue as no other teams are cracking down on outside food like this. If there are new security procedures, everyone else is able to accommodate them without an opportunistic crackdown on fans bringing in PB&J for their toddlers. It seemed more likely that this was a simple cash grab.

Today the Braves have reversed the policy somewhat:

While they’re looking for kudos here, this is likewise an admission that the “security” stuff was bull because, last I checked, security procedures aren’t subject to popular referendum and aren’t changed when people complain. What really happened here, it seems, is the Braves, for the first time in living memory, were called out by the public for their greed and realized that even they have some responsibility to not be jackasses about this sort of thing.

Still, a gallon bag policy is not the same as it was before. You could bring coolers into Turner Field and still can bring them into most parks around the league. But I guess this is better than nothing.

Donald Trump may throw out the first pitch at the Nationals opener

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It’s just gossip now, but Politico is hearing that Donald Trump is in talks to throw out the first pitch at Nationals Park on Opening Day. The Nats are not commenting. Neither are the Palm Beach Cardinals of the Florida State League, who no doubt feel slighted given that the president effectively is a local.

With the caveat that, on Opening Day, tickets are likely to be more expensive and thus you’re likely to have a lot more rich people and friends-of-the-owners in attendance, thereby ensuring a more conservative crowd, I’m struggling to imagine a situation in which Trump strolls on to a baseball field in a large American city and isn’t booed like crazy. He’s polling as low as 36% in some places. He’s not exactly Mr. Popular.

Oh well. I look forward to him three-bouncing one to Matt Wieters and then grabbing his phone and tweeting about how it was the best, most tremendous first pitch in baseball history. Or blaming Hillary Clinton for it in the event he admits that it was a bad pitch.