Padres hire Alan Zinter as hitting coach

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Hitting coach for a team that plays half its games at Petco Park is a rough gig and the Padres have churned through a lot of them over the years. Alan Zinter will be the latest to take a crack at the job, according to Corey Brock of MLB.com.

Zinter spent this past season as the Astros’ assistant hitting coach and previously served as the Indians’ minor-league hitting coordinator. He was also teammates with new Padres manager Andy Green a decade ago during a 19-year playing career spent mostly in the minors.

San Diego’s hitting coach this year, Mark Kotsay, parted ways with the team and recently joined Oakland’s staff as bench coach.

Nationals sign George Kontos to minors deal

George Kontos
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The Nationals selected the contract of reliever George Kontos from the Atlantic League Long Island Ducks, per an official announcement on Saturday. The right-hander has been assigned to Triple-A Fresno, but could still make his season debut sometime before the first half of the season draws to a close.

Kontos, 33, hasn’t pitched in the majors since he took a handful of back-to-back-to-back gigs with the Pirates, Indians, and Yankees in 2018. He inked a minor league pact with the Cubs over the offseason, but failed to break camp with the team and was subsequently released in mid-April. He turned in seven strong innings for the Ducks since then, allowing one run and one walk and striking out six of 27 batters in six appearances.

Last year, the veteran reliever posted a combined 4.39 ERA, 2.4 BB/9, and 5.1 SO/9 over 26 2/3 innings. While he hasn’t pitched anywhere close to his career-best numbers in four years, he may still provide some valuable depth for the club, whose bullpen ranks 10th best in the league with a cumulative 4.59 ERA and 5.9 fWAR so far in 2019.