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The Rays fire their hitting coach

Tampa Bay Rays Photo Day

PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 27: Coach Derek Shelton #17 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a photo on photo day at Charlotte Sports Park on February 27, 2015 in Port Charlotte, Florida. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

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The Tampa Bay Rays just announced that they have fired hitting coach Derek Shelton. They have promoted minor league hitting coordinator Chad Mottola to take the job. No word if that’s an interim promotion or if the job is Mottola’s for good.

Shelton was in his seventh season as Rays hitting coach. The Rays enter today’s action ranked last in the AL in batting average (.243) and 12th in runs scored. They were 14th in runs scored last year, 15th in 2014, 13th in 2013 and 12th in 2012, though it was only a 14-team league that year and in years prior.

Hitting coaches likely have less impact on their charges than any other kind of coach -- talent is what dictates offense -- but when your charges are at or near the bottom in runs scored every year, eventually you’re gonna take the fall.