Mark McGwire officially joins Dodgers as new hitting coach

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Today the Dodgers made official what was reported last week, announcing Mark McGwire as their new hitting coach.

McGwire replaces Dave Hansen, who was fired as the Dodgers’ hitting coach and then quickly hired by the Mariners to fill the same role.

McGwire spent the past three seasons as the Cardinals’ hitting coach and was consistently praised for the job he did, as the lineup ranked sixth, first, and second among NL teams in scoring under his tutelage.

St. Louis wanted him back in 2013, but McGwire is from California, makes his offseason home there, and wanted to be closer to his family year-round.

St. Louis has already promoted John Mabry from assistant hitting coach to hitting coach as McGwire’s replacement.

Mets sign Jose Lobaton to minor league deal

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The Mets signed catcher Jose Lobaton to a minor league contract, the team announced Friday. The deal includes an invitation to spring training, where it’s assumed Lobaton will be in the mix for a backup role behind Travis d'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki.

Lobaton, 33, is coming off of a four-year stint with the Nationals. He put up his worst career numbers in 2017, producing -0.6 fWAR after slashing just .170/.248/.277 with four home runs in 158 plate appearances. While he’ll give the Mets little to work with at the plate, his near-decade of experience behind the dish should make him a decent emergency option, if nothing else.

In the meantime, the Mets are expected to roll with a d’Arnaud/Plawecki platoon to start the season. Both catchers saw slight upticks in value over the 2017 season: d’Arnaud turned in 0.8 fWAR after hitting a career-high 16 home runs, while Plawecki collected 0.6 fWAR and three homers after raising his batting line over the Mendoza Line for the first time since 2015.