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Angels Fire Hitting Coach as Pujols’s Home Run Slump Continues

Mickey Hatcher was fired as hitting coach of the Los Angeles Angels, who have scored the third-fewest runs in the American League and gotten one home run in 146 at-bats from free-agent acquisition Albert Pujols.

Hatcher, 57, was in his 13th season in the job under manager Mike Scioscia.

The Angels are 16-21 this year and have been shut out eight times, the most in Major League Baseball. They’re averaging 3.63 runs per game and Pujols is hitting .212 with 14 runs batted in since joining the Angels in the offseason with a 10-year, $240 million contract.

“Sometimes in the sports world a point is reached where perhaps a new voice is needed in order to attain the desired goals and objectives,” Angels General Manager Jerry Dipoto said in a statement. “Unfortunately we feel this is one of those times. Offensively we have underachieved and everyone shares in the responsibility of what has transpired thus far.”

Hatcher was replaced by Jim Eppard, who was hitting coach at the Angels’ Triple-A affiliate in Salt Lake City.

Pujols isn’t the only Angels’ hitter who’s struggled early this season. Erick Aybar, who signed a four-year contract extension last month, is batting .187 and lost his job as the leadoff hitter, while Vernon Wells is hitting .242 with nine RBI in 34 games.

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