The Brewers hire Darnell Coles as their hitting instructor

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The Brewers fired Johnny Narron as their hitting coach a couple of weeks ago. Now they have a replacement: Darnell Coles.

Coles has been in the Brewers organization in the past, having managed their Huntsville team in 2012 and 2013. He was slated to move up to the Triple-A team in Nashville, but the Tigers offered him an assistant hitting coach position at the major league level. There were obviously no hard feelings from the Brewers — maybe they acknowledged that a big league coach’s gig is better than a minor league manager’s gig from a hotel and per diem perspective — so now he’s got their job.

The Brewers offense fell off a cliff at the end of 2014, taking with it their playoff hopes. Now Coles’ job is to bring a bit more consistency to the mix.

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.