I just got this from the Seattle Mariners media e-mail. GM Bill Bavasi has relieved hitting coach Jeff Pentland of his duties. Special assistant Lee Elia, who was with the team in Boston, will take over.
Hmm. Well, Pentland was a nice guy, and it's not like he drastically changed his philosophies that had the Mariners with one of the top team batting averages in baseball last season. As for this season, the team wasn't hitting, but maybe it goes back to that old saying of making chicken salad out of something else.
Nobody took it more painfully watching Betancourt, Lopez and Johjima hack at every pitch served up more than Pentland. He can teach till he's blue in the face, but if the players don't put in the extra work, commit to the changes and execute them - it means little.
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Here's the press release.
MARINERS RELIEVE JEFF PENTLAND OF HITTING COACH DUTIES
Special Assistant Lee Elia will take over as Mariners Hitting Coach.
TORONTO -- Seattle Mariners Executive Vice President & General Manager of Baseball Operations Bill Bavasi announced today that hitting coach Jeff Pentland has been relieved of his duties with the club. Special Assistant Lee Elia will immediately take over as the Mariners hitting coach on the current road trip in Toronto.
"Jeff has an excellent and proven track record, and those of us who have worked with him are well aware he knows hitting." said Bavasi. "Unfortunately, we have consistently, and for an extended period, underperformed at the plate and we are hopeful that a different voice might help the situation."
Pentland, 61, was in his third full season as the Mariners hitting coach. This season, Seattle has struggled to live up to its offensive expectations, ranking 13th in the American League in batting (.248) and slugging percentage (.377), and last in on-base percentage (.305). During Pentland's first two seasons as the Mariners hitting coach, Seattle raised its team batting average at least 15 points from the previous season (.256 - .272 in 2006 & .272 - .287 in 2007).
Elia, 70, takes over after spending spring training and the first part of the season as a special assistant to manager John McLaren. Elia is in his 47th season in professional baseball and his 23rd as a coach or manager in the Major Leagues. This is his eighth season with the Mariners, serving as the hitting coach from 1993-97 and as the Major League field & coaching consultant in 2001-02.