Mickey Hatcher, the longtime Angels hitting coach who was fired six weeks ago amid the team’s disappointing start, has joined the Dodgers as a special assistant to the general manager, according to Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com.
At the time of Hatcher’s firing the Angels were 16-21 and averaging 3.6 runs per game. Since replacing Hatcher with Triple-A hitting coach Jim Eppard the Angels are 24-12 and have averaged 4.6 runs per game.
How much of that is on Hatcher and how much it stems from Albert Pujols getting his act together and Mike Trout coming up from the minors as an immediate MVP candidate is open for debate, of course, but the move certainly had the intended impact.
Hatcher spent the first two seasons and last four seasons of his dozen-year career with the Dodgers and joined the Angels as hitting coach in 2000.
The Braves and Marlins have some bad blood, especially concerning Ronald Acuña Jr. Around this time last year, José Ureña intentionally threw at Acuña in the first at-bat of a game, leading to a benches-clearing incident. Acuña was hit on the elbow and exited the game but was ultimately fine. Acuña’s crime? Just being good at baseball. At the time, he had homered in five consecutive games, including three games against the Marlins.
In 2019, the first-place Braves and last-place Marlins have mostly minded their own business. The Marlins, however, can certainly keep a grudge it appears. With his first pitch in the bottom of the first inning Tuesday night in Atlanta, Marlins starter Elieser Hernández hit Acuña in the hip.
Home plate umpire Alan Porter issued warnings to both dugouts. Braves manager Brian Snitker wasn’t happy about his side having received a warning for no reason, and was ejected by first base umpire Mark Wegner. Hernández would hit Adeiny Hechavarría with a pitch in the fourth inning — seemingly unintentionally — and was not ejected. Other than that, there were no more incidents and cooler heads prevailed.
Acuña finished 1-for-4 in the Braves’ 5-1 win. Freddie Freeman hit two home runs and knocked in four runs.