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Red Sox hire hitting coach Tim Hyers

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The Red Sox added hitting coach Tim Hyers and assistant hitting coach Andy Barkett to Alex Cora’s coaching staff on Saturday, per a team announcement. Hyers is fresh off of a two-year stint as the Dodgers’ hitting coach and director of Minor League hitting, while Barkett recently completed a one-year gig as the Pirates’ Triple-A manager.

Hyers, 46, played first base for the Padres, Tigers and Marlins during the mid-1990s. His major league career flamed out after just four seasons, but he picked up a gig as a hitting coach for the Tigers’ Single-A affiliate in 2002 and later served as an area scout, minor league hitting coordinator and interim coach for the Red Sox. He broke into the majors again when the Dodgers hired him in 2016 and helped the team to two playoff appearances.

“I’m a hitting coach at heart,” he told the Rockdale/Newton Citizen back in August, several weeks before the Dodgers started trudging through a two-week slump. “I don’t want to manage. I love working with hitters. I like the grind, the ups and downs. I was that type of player. I grinded through my career and had some good times and bad times. All players go through it and you’ve got to keep working, trust the process. One big thing is keeping it simple, but also not forgetting about who you are as a player. A lot of them want to do too much. It’s about not forgetting who you are and sticking with your strengths.”

Barkett, 43, lasted several months as an infielder/outfielder for the 2001 Pirates before capping his career in the majors. He has not coached at the big league level yet, but has acquired extensive experience working with the minor league affiliates of the Pirates, Braves, Marlins and Tigers over the last 11 seasons.

Cora will be formally introduced as the Red Sox’ manager on Monday. Excepting bullpen coach and catching instructor Dana Levangie, he’ll be rolling with a brand-new coaching staff for the 2018 season, including first base coach and outfield instructor Tom Goodwin, third base coach and infield instructor Carlos Febles and bench coach Ron Roenicke. He has yet to name a pitching coach.

Kendrys Morales pitched a scoreless inning Sunday

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Nothing went right for the Blue Jays this weekend. The club was swept in a four-game series against the Athletics, including a 9-2 loss on Sunday. Not wanting to burn out his bullpen in a lopsided game — and perhaps thinking about the general entertainment value involved — Blue Jays manager John Gibbons decided to send designated hitter Kendrys Morales out to pitch the ninth inning. And in typical baseball fashion, he saw better results than some of the dudes who do this all the time.

Morales, who actually pitched in Cuba nearly 20 years ago, worked around a walk for a scoreless inning. He induced three fly outs and topped out at 87.4 mph on his fastball, per Brooks Baseball. He received a standing ovation on the way back to the dugout. Morales hasn’t been hearing that sort of thing for his contributions with the bat recently.

Morales, 34, is batting just .163/.248/.279 with three home runs through 32 games this season. There’s been some understandable clamoring for top prospect Vladmir Guerrero, Jr. to cut into his at-bats. For his part, Morales has been doing everything he can to break out of his slumber at the plate, including ditching the glasses he started wearing during spring training. Hey, whatever works. Morales also had two of Toronto’s four hits on Sunday.

On the heels of Morales’ first MLB appearance on the mound, it feels rather appropriate that the Blue Jays will get their first look at Angels sensation Shohei Ohtani — at least as a hitter — beginning on Tuesday.