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Dodgers fire hitting coach Jeff Pentland, hire Dave Hansen

Don Mattingly, Jeff Pentland

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, right, watches his team as he talks to batting coach Jeff Pentland in the dugout during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox in Chicago, Saturday, May 21, 2011. The White Sox won 9-2. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)


Since you can’t get rid of all the players--particularly when you don’t have any money to hire new ones--the Dodgers have decided to fire hitting coach Jeff Pentland and replace him with Dave Hansen on an interim basis.

Pentland, 64, was the Dodgers “hitting instructor” behind then-hitting coach Don Mattingly from 2008 to 2010 before moving up to the bigger job this season, with the Dodgers ranking 15th among NL teams in scoring. He also previously filled the same job with the Mariners, Royals, and Cubs.

Hansen played parts of 15 seasons in the majors, including 11 of them with the Dodgers, and was primarily a bench bat who totaled just 2,893 innings defensively in 1,230 career games. After retiring in 2005 he served as the Diamondbacks’ minor-league hitting coordinator before joining the Dodgers’ coaching staff this year.

When a team ranks second-to-last in scoring it’s tough to quibble with firing the hitting coach, but Pentland also didn’t have a whole lot to work with this season as the Dodgers have given 1,500 plate appearances to Rod Barajas, James Loney, Aaron Miles, Juan Uribe, Tony Gwynn Jr., and Dioner Navarro. And really, Pentland coaxing a .700 OPS out of Miles should be considered a minor miracle.