Padres hire Phil Plantier as hitting coach

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According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Padres have hired Phil Plantier as hitting coach.

Plantier, 42, had been serving as manager at the Padres’ single affiliate in Lake Elsinore, California.

He was a big league outfielder from 1990-1997, batting .243/.332/.439 with 91 home runs in 610 games, 298 of which he played with San Diego.

In 1993, by far his best season, Plantier had an .843 OPS and 34 home runs for a 72-90 Padres team.

He’ll be taking the place of Randy Ready, who was let go in late September after a brutal offensive campaign that sunk the Friars to a 71-91 record. With a batting order that should improve in 2012 but only mildly, Plantier will be facing a challenge.