Mets add assistant hitting coach to Terry Collins’ staff

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Two-thirds of MLB teams now employ an assistant hitting coach, as the Mets have become the 20th team to join the trend by adding Luis Natera to manager Terry Collins’ coaching staff.

Natera has been in the organization for two decades, including the past seven seasons as the Double-A hitting coach. They created the position for him and the timing of doing it right before Opening Day is interesting.

He’ll work under primary hitting coach Dave Hudgens, who’s in his third season with that gig for the Mets.

I picture Natera showing up to Mets camp today, saying something like “it’s great to join you guys as the assistant hitting coach!” and Hudgens interrupting to say “uh, that’s assistant to the hitting coach.” Except, unfortunately, there’s probably a strong chance Mets camp isn’t like “The Office.”

Diamondbacks say they’re not rebuilding

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Despite losing Patrick Corbin and A.J. Pollock to free agency, then trading Paul Goldschmidt to the Cardinals, the Diamondbacks insist they’re not entering a rebuilding mode, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports.

Most likely, this is just the D-Backs saving face publicly given how much contention there has been between ownership and the players’ union over teams aggressively not competing. The D-Backs aren’t expected to be in the running for any of the bigger-name free agents, so it’s going to be very tough to replace the production lost from Corbin, Pollock, and Goldschmidt. The smart money is still on expecting the D-Backs to continue trading away players like Robbie Ray and David Peralta. Greinke might stay, but only because of his contract, which still has three years and $95.5 million remaining.