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Marlins hire Mel Stottlemyre Jr. as their pitching coach

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The New York Yankees-ification of the Miami Marlins continues: they’ve hired Mel Stottlemyre Jr. as their pitching coach. They’ve also hired Trey Hillman as their first base coach.

Stottlemyre was never part of the Yankees — he had a cup of coffee with the Royals and that’s it — but his father, Mel Sr., was a Yankees pitcher and pitching coach. Stottlemyre was the Mariners pitching coach for the past three seasons.

Hillman, who managed the Royals from 2008-10, is a former manager in the Yankees’ minor league system — he led the Columbus Clippers for a long time — before becoming Marlins manager Don Mattingly’s bench coach with the Dodgers. Hillman has considerable managerial experience in Asia as well.

The Marlins hired Jeff Livesey as assistant hitting coach to work with hitting coach Mike Pagliarulo, himself a former Yankee. Kevin Barr was promoted to strength and conditioning coach.

Rakuten Golden Eagles sign Jabari Blash

Jabari Blash
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Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.

The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.

The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.