Rockies hire Dante Bichette as new hitting coach

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Colorado wanted Jason Giambi to retire as a player and become a hitting coach, but the 41-year-old apparently isn’t ready to call it a career yet and the Rockies have moved on.

Today the team announced the hiring of Dante Bichette as hitting coach.

Bichette and first-year manager Walt Weiss were Rockies teammates from 1994-1997 and if nothing else Bichette is more qualified than anyone when it comes to taking advantage of Coors Field, where he hit .358 with a 1.035 OPS in 397 games while being mediocre away from high altitude.

And most importantly the Rockies hiring Bichette gives me an excuse to link to this picture of him again. Never gets old.

Clayton Kershaw struggles with control, walks six Marlins

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Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.

Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.

The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.