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Angels fire hitting coach Mickey Hatcher

May 15, 2012, 11:06 PM EDT

hatcher getty Getty Images

From beat writer Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com comes word that the Angels fired longtime hitting coach Mickey Hatcher late Tuesday night.

Triple-A Salt Lake hitting instructor Jim Eppard has been promoted to serve as Hatcher’s replacement.

The news comes with odd timing considering the Halos beat the A’s 4-0 on Tuesday in Anaheim, but this decision runs much deeper than one game.

The Angels have probably been the biggest disappointment of the 2012 baseball season’s first half and currently trail the American League West-leading Rangers by a whopping seven games. The offense has been shut out eight times already and ranked 23rd in the majors in runs scored heading into Tuesday’s game. Someone had to be the scapegoat.

It’s worth remembering that Hatcher had a small clash of philosophies with Albert Pujols back in late April, and that Hatcher is a nearly-lifelong friend of Angels manager Mike Scioscia. Maybe this is standard protocol in Anaheim, but GM Jerry Dipoto made Tuesday’s announcement. Scioscia was not present.

  1. randygnyc - May 15, 2012 at 11:15 PM

    Fall guy!!!!

    • aceshigh11 - May 15, 2012 at 11:45 PM

      For sure, but they’ve GOTTA start shaking things up.

      • chuckj1234 - May 16, 2012 at 12:13 AM

        Well AP is a pull hitter at least this year.Tampa bay put the shift on to him when they played the Angels. But other than him the rest of the players are hitting reasonably ok.
        However when you have invested 240 mil in a player some one needs to go.

      • paperlions - May 16, 2012 at 7:38 AM

        Ianetta has been bad.

        Wells, Callaspo, Bourjos, Pujols, and Aybar have all been horrible….281 is the highest OBP for any of those guys…that is a lot of outs from 3 starters and 2 other guys with a lot of PAs.

        Small sample size aside, when Maicer Izturis is the 3rd most productive hitter on your team….you got problems.

      • marshmallowsnake - May 16, 2012 at 11:15 AM

        Tampa Bay would shift on my Grandmother.

      • acerob2002 - May 16, 2012 at 2:24 PM

        I think that its time to stop talking small sample size, its mid may, the sample size isn’t so small anymore. Lets face it, AP is a great player, but something is wrong with the guy, .212 average and 1 HR? WTF? The guy needs to start hitting… Maybe the Cardinals dodged a bullet by letting him walk, look what Beltran has done in his place.

  2. fhuizar - May 15, 2012 at 11:23 PM

    Long over due and this season was the last straw

    Sorry Mick!

  3. phillyphever - May 15, 2012 at 11:24 PM

    So how much longer until Scioscia finally gets the boot (should have been fired long ago)?

    • Jeremiah Graves - May 16, 2012 at 9:38 AM

      Doesn’t he have, like, 36 years left on his contract?!

      • biasedhomer - May 16, 2012 at 11:19 AM

        He will be coaching from a nursing home, via ooVoo.

      • WhenMattStairsIsKing - May 16, 2012 at 12:33 PM

        He’s signed though 2020, I think.

  4. jimatkins - May 15, 2012 at 11:24 PM

    About time. Hatcher couldn’t teach the AAA kids how to hit in the bigs- how many Halo prospects flamed out like Brandon Wood. The entire team has no patience at the plate, can’t take walks, swings at anything, can’t score runs. Good riddance.

    • baseballisboring - May 15, 2012 at 11:44 PM

      You can’t blame Hatcher for all of that. Patience and pitch recognition are skills that you have to come up to the big leagues with, basically…hitting coaches are kinda just there to help people through mechanical flaws I think. I don’t think any hitting coach could have saved Brandon Wood. But Pujols isn’t hitting, Bourjos is dealing with some expected regression, and their lineup has a bunch of zeros like Wells, Aybar, etc…I guess they had to do something. I don’t know that it’s really gonna help anything.

    • vallewho - May 16, 2012 at 12:24 AM

      they need someone that actually knows a thing or two about hitting…someone lime Rod Carew.

      • vallewho - May 16, 2012 at 12:25 AM

        like Rod Carew….I meant.

      • jwbiii - May 16, 2012 at 12:39 AM

        Rod Carew may very well be limin’
        http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=liming

      • paperlions - May 16, 2012 at 7:40 AM

        Someone that knows a thing or twelve about hitting…..like Albert Pujols?

      • ufullpj - May 16, 2012 at 8:05 AM

        Rod Carew was a great, great hitter – but as a hitting coach, not that great.

        Remember this – the best players usually make the worst coaches. From Ted Williams to Michael Jordan to Gretzky….ironically, Larry Bird may have been one of the best HOF players turned coach. As a rule in the major sports, you don’t usually see HOF players become HOF coaches.

      • psousa1 - May 16, 2012 at 9:05 AM

        Ted Williams was the manager of a horrendous Washington team and he won manager of the year. He wasn’t that bad.

  5. litemater95 - May 15, 2012 at 11:24 PM

    Thatcher?

  6. deefig - May 15, 2012 at 11:35 PM

    Yes. Margaret Thatcher was the hitting coach!

    • nothanksimdriving123 - May 16, 2012 at 3:38 AM

      I should think that even when she was in good health she would have been better suited to coach cricket than baseball.

    • Jeremiah Graves - May 16, 2012 at 9:40 AM

      That explains a lot of the issues, I never thought she had the chops to teach the kids. The best hitters make the worst coaches.

  7. Old Gator - May 16, 2012 at 12:01 AM

    Maybe Hatcher can get together with Ina Drew and come up with a scheme to package batting averages in some kind of debt instrument.

  8. Ben - May 16, 2012 at 12:04 AM

    I have a bit of sympathy for the guy–trying to get Vernon Wells to hit is akin to drawing blood from a stone

    • jason9696 - May 16, 2012 at 12:18 AM

      Vernon Wells had a few amazing years with the Jays. Thanks for taking his huge contact off of our hands though. What were you guys thinking?

    • stlouis1baseball - May 16, 2012 at 9:06 AM

      Blood from a stone or blood from a turnip?

  9. jhorton83 - May 16, 2012 at 12:07 AM

    I just posted yesterday how Hatcher was going to be held responsible for this mess in that record shutout pace story. It turned out to be sooner rather than later.

  10. Marty - May 16, 2012 at 12:14 AM

    Oh damn! Jim Eppard for salt lake! These Angels are going to be ropin.

  11. slumdog66 - May 16, 2012 at 12:21 AM

    We were thinking that you guys are the blue jays and will always be the blue jays. Never amount to nothing

  12. kpow55 - May 16, 2012 at 1:30 AM

    Hale-friggin-luah

    He’s not a bad guy, but enough was enough, one of the leagues top hitters clearly had issues with him. It’s not all on MH but a. 100 plus drop in average can’t all be contributed to AL pitching.

    Trout, Bourjos and Trumbo are great prospects who may need also need a change in tutelage to up production.

  13. kpow55 - May 16, 2012 at 1:33 AM

    Stupid on my part but the Carew comments got me thinking about former Halos as biting coaches…. Could you imagine Vlad?

    If he throws, you swing!!!

    • nothanksimdriving123 - May 16, 2012 at 3:43 AM

      “biting coaches”? Like in the Twilight movies?

      • kpow55 - May 16, 2012 at 5:13 PM

        woe is me, typing on an phone, I had an auto correct moment….. thank’s for taking a moment form running your Ewdward Vs whatever the wolf guy’s name is message board to point it out little fella.

  14. rcali - May 16, 2012 at 1:51 AM

    So no blame goes to Boojols for taking the team down with him? Wait till they find out Albert is actually 38.

    • jhorton83 - May 16, 2012 at 2:05 AM

      Given what they’re paying Pujols, pretty much everyone else in the organization and team outside of the owner will be thrown under the bus before him. That being said, Mickey Hatcher has been a terrible hitting coach for a long time and had this coming for a while.

  15. nothanksimdriving123 - May 16, 2012 at 3:49 AM

    Doesn’t matter what other changes they make. They won’t get back to the World Series until they change their name back to Anaheim Angels. Not to sound judgmental or anything but their current moniker is incredibly stupid and makes no more sense than would the San Francisco Athletics of Oakland.

    • nixonotis - May 16, 2012 at 4:07 AM

      Now this is what I call insightful analysis.

  16. paperlions - May 16, 2012 at 7:53 AM

    Just like managers, hitting coaches get too much credit when things go well and too much blame when they don’t….personality is probably more important than anything…if you aren’t having much effect, you may as well get along with everyone.

    People love to give McGwire credit for the Cardinals hitting….but there isn’t a single good Cardinal hitter that wasn’t already a good hitter before he was their hitting coach….Freese, Craig, Carpenter, and Jay were good minor league hitters. Molina has continued his progression as a hitter which started long before McGwire showed up. The best you can say, is that he hasn’t come in with dumb ideas to screw anyone up….which is probably the best you can say about the vast majority of hitting coaches.

    In the end, if they were that important, you wouldn’t have to worry so much about acquiring talent…you could just coach ‘em up.

  17. dawglb - May 16, 2012 at 8:22 AM

    Can’t fire the players, especially not Albert. It is a shame that a man loses his job because a few millionaires are head cases.

  18. dawglb - May 16, 2012 at 8:24 AM

    You KNOW Scioscia is pissed!!!

  19. mojosmagic - May 16, 2012 at 9:40 AM

    How does this coach have the audacity to attempt changing Albert Pujos approach to hitting? Some guys you just leave alone. Like one of the best to ever play the game.

    • fearlessleader - May 16, 2012 at 10:25 AM

      You don’t actually think that that’s what happened, do you?

  20. xpensivewinos - May 16, 2012 at 9:50 AM

    You KNOW Scioscia is pissed!!!

  21. xpensivewinos - May 16, 2012 at 9:52 AM

    Sorry about that. Meant to comment on Scioscia being pissed.

    Maybe that’s part of the plan…….

  22. tigerman3 - May 16, 2012 at 10:04 AM

    Dang i saw hitting coach fired and was hoping it was that waste of space in Detroit LLoyd Mclendeon. I would take Hatcher any day over him.

  23. jikkle49 - May 16, 2012 at 10:48 AM

    Hatcher only had a job for as long as he did because he was Scioscia’s buddy. Aside from 09 the lineup has underperformed for years so this has been building up for a while so I don’t think this was a Pujos thing but his struggles might have been that straw that broke the Camel’s back.

    Also 12 years is a long time for a position coach to be in one place and from time to time you need to swap this guys out to bring in a new set of eyes and a fresh perspective.

  24. linedrivehit - May 16, 2012 at 11:10 AM

    Yeah, the dumb decision to mortgage the farm for an aging star with declining stats was Hatcher’s fault.

  25. kpow55 - May 16, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    12 years on the job, he may have grown a tad complacent and rubbed a few people the wrong way….

    I don’t know that he had complete control but Vlad swung at anything that moved under him, Napoli has flourished with out him and Pujols is falling apart.

    Your team is underperforming, try a minor shakeup before trying trades, major firings, etc…

    There’s no evidence he’s linked to Pujols slide but you have a Billion$ plus advertising magnet, face of the team, losing value and this guy who’s been average at best for many years…. maybe it’s PR or maybe its trying something new to get Pujols, Trout & Trumbo hitting well.

    Plus it’s a solid warning shot to Scioscia…. turn it around, no one is untouchable, not your best friend, not you

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