The Angels announced a major move on Tuesday when they fired hitting coach Mickey Hatcher and replaced him with Triple-A hitting coach Jim Eppard. The switch means much more than a potential for the team’s hitting to improve; it indicates a major change within the organization.
Hatcher was one of Mike Scioscia’s original assistant coaches from the time he took over as Angels manager in 2000. He is the first Scioscia assistant to be fired (previous assistant coaches Joe Maddon and Bud Black moved on to managerial gigs). The two were teammates with the Dodgers and Scioscia has been incredibly loyal to Hatcher, riding with him through the team’s ups-and-downs. But the organization finally decided to fire him on Tuesday.
Many people believe Hatcher was fired in part because he upset Albert Pujols a few weeks ago. They feel the firing was a response to that issue, and that the move indicates Pujols is running the team.
I think it signifies that there is another powerful voice in the organization, but it’s not Pujols’; GM Jerry DiPoto is now the one running the show.