Dodgers fire Don Mattingly’s hand-picked bench coach

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Don Mattingly and the Dodgers appear headed for some sort of confrontation with one season remaining on his contract, but in the meantime Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that bench coach Trey Hillman has been fired.

Hillman joined Mattingly’s staff in 2011 after being fired as Royals manager following a 152-207 (.423) record in two-plus seasons in Kansas City.

Shaikin recently wrote an article in which he noted that “Mattingly handpicked him for the Dodgers’ coaching staff” in 2011 and “Hillman and Mattingly usually share a ride to Dodger Stadium” as “carpool mates.”

So presumably this wasn’t Mattingly’s doing, in which case the tension in Los Angeles may have just increased even further.

UPDATE: Molly Knight of ESPN.com describes Mattingly and Hillman as “best friends.” This could get ugly.

Javier Baez, D.J. LeMahieu have disagreement about sign-stealing

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Fellow second basemen Javier Baez of the Cubs and D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies got into a disagreement in the top of the third inning of Sunday’s game at Coors Field over sign-stealing.

LeMahieu reached on a fielder’s choice ground out, then advanced to second base on Charlie Blackmon‘s single. While Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were batting, Baez was concerned that LeMahieu was relaying the Cubs’ signs to his teammates. Baez decided to stand in front of LeMahieu to block any information he might have been giving to Arenado and Story. LeMahieu got irritated and the two jawed at each other for a bit. Umpires Vic Carapazza and Greg Gibson had to intervene to tell Baez to knock it off.

There has always been a back-and-forth with alleged sign-stealing. As long as teams aren’t using technology to steal signs, it’s fair game for players to relay information to their teammates about the opposing team’s signs. Last year, MLB determined the Red Sox went against the rules and used technology — an Apple watch in this case — to steal signs from the Yankees. Other teams in the past have been accused of using binoculars from the bullpen to steal signs. In this particular case with Baez and LeMahieu, there was no foul play going on, just Baez trying to make the Rockies cede what he perceived to be their slight competitive advantage.

The Cubs went on to beat the Rockies 9-7 on Sunday.