Pirates promote Jeff Branson to hitting coach

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Jay Bell left his position as Pirates hitting coach last week to become the Reds’ bench coach and Pittsburgh has replaced him by promoting assistant hitting coach Jeff Branson into the main gig.

Pittsburgh ranked ninth among NL teams in offense this season, which sounds not at all impressive–and it isn’t, really–but the last time the Pirates ranked higher than ninth in runs was 2003.

Seriously. Reggie Sanders led that team in RBIs. And it was one season after Branson retired as a player.

Jose Reyes is hitless in 20 plate appearances to start the season

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Mets backup infielder Jose Reyes pinch-hit and popped up in the top of the eighth inning of Thursday night’s game in Atlanta against the Braves. That ran his streak up to 20 consecutive hitless plate appearances to start the 2018 season. He has reached base once, however, on a walk, so there’s that.

Reyes, 34, signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Mets near the end of January. At the time, the Mets hadn’t yet signed Todd Frazier, so Reyes was in the mix to contribute as a utilityman but he has operated as a bat off the bench for the most part this season.

One wonders how much longer the Mets are going to let Reyes flounder. According to FanGraphs, he has already been worth a half-win less than a replacement-level player. Only eight other players have been as bad or worse this season.