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Mariners hire Edgar Martinez as hitting coach

Edgar Martinez

ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 6: Edgar Martinez #11 of the Seattle Mariners gets ready to bat during the game against the Texas Rangers at the Ballpark in Arlington on April 6, 2003 in Arlington, Texas. The Mariners defeated the Rangers 11-2. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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Well, here’s a surprise: The Mariners announced this afternoon that they have reassigned hitting coach Howard Johnson and hired seven-time All-Star Edgar Martinez as his replacement. Martinez will be in uniform tonight against the Astros, wearing his familiar No. 11.

The Mariners entered today’s action ranked dead-last in the majors in batting average and 28th in runs scored. This is a function of talent more than anything else, but the front office decided that a new voice was needed. You could do a lot worse than Martinez.

Martinez, a .312 lifetime hitter over 18 seasons with the Mariners, has never coached professionally. However, he has been a guest instructor in spring training in the past and recently started helping hitters at Triple-A Tacoma. Here’s what Martinez told Mike Curto of the Tacoma News Tribune earlier this month:

“I had too much time on my hands,” Martinez said with a laugh. “I always wanted to get back to the game. Right now my family is busy, my wife is working, my kids are all in school and they’re old enough where I can travel more. It’s a good time for me to do it.”

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