Dodgers fire hitting coach Pentland

The Dodgers have fired batting coach Jeff Pentland and replaced him on an interim basis with Dave Hansen.

This was Pentland’s fourth year in the organization and first as major-league batting coach (replacing, of course, Don Mattingly). He has had hitting coach jobs with the Royals, Cubs and Mariners dating back to 1997.

Hansen, who holds Dodger records for pinch-hits and pinch-homers in a season and pinch-hits in a career (ahead of Manny Mota), came back to Los Angeles last winter after four years in the Diamondbacks organization.

James Loney and Juan Uribe are the most noteworthy Dodgers who have performed below expectations this year, though an ongoing issue with the team is that you couldn’t expect much from the offense at other positions, such as catcher and left field. Essentially, Pentland is getting blame for the poor performances while not getting credit for players like Matt Kemp. That assessment might be deserved — I honestly have no idea.

Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com has more, including quotes from Ned Colletti:

… “It was a very tough decision,” Colletti said. “This is a good man. Pent has always been a good man and a very good hitting guy. … (But) this is a reflection on how we’re hitting.”

The Dodgers entered Wednesday’s game against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park hitting just .250 as a team, and they were next to last in the National League in runs scored. They have been particularly bad at hitting with runners in scoring position.

Pentland was told of his firing in a meeting with Colletti and Mattingly immediately after Tuesday night’s 5-3 loss to the Giants. Mattingly broke the news to the team a couple of hours before Wednesday’s game.

Pentland wasn’t made available for comment.

“Donnie and I had talked about it for a couple of weeks,” Colletti said. “My hope was that after the (All-Star) break, we would come out refreshed a little bit and become more productive. But the focus hasn’t been there, and the at-bats haven’t been there. The production with runners in scoring position is near the bottom of baseball.”

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“Major League Baseball has not reached out to AEG about building a downtown stadium for the Los Angeles Dodgers, despite Internet reports,” AEG president and CEO Tim Leiweke told Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com.

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