Per the New York Post, the Mets fired hitting coach Dave Hudgens and released reliever Jose Valverde after the 5-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citi Field Monday.
Hudgens will be replaced by 63-year-old Lamar Johnson, who has spent the last 10 years as the Mets’ minor-league hitting coordinator. As for Valverde, he’ll be replaced by Vic Black, who will be promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas.
We could have seen Valverde’s release coming. The Post reports that he had been shaky since mid-April, when he was stripped of the closer’s job, and allowed four earned runs Monday to help flush a strong start by Jacob deGrom. But Hudgen’s firing comes as more of a surprise given the relationship between he and general manager Sandy Alderson back when the pair worked with the Athletics.
Alderson hired Hudgens back in 2011 to implement a team’s hitting approach that calls for batters to work counts and “hunt” for strikes.
“We’ve had issues home and road over the last several years, not just this season,” Alderson said, via the Post. “Also, our situational hitting is not what we want it to be. Our hitting approach will not change appreciably. Any time there is a new person, there is a new voice, a new take, a different interpretation, both from a mechanical as well as an approach point of view. This is unfortunately what baseball is about, so we’ve decided to make that change.”
Hudgens says he holds no bitterness toward Alderson.