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Angels Fire Hitting Coach Mickey Hatcher, Hire Jim Eppard As Replacement

The Angels felt it was time to make a move with the coaching staff.

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The Los Angeles Angels have gotten out to a horrible start in 2012, and much of it has to do with their underachieving lineup. Despite bringing Albert Pujols to town, the Angels sit far behind the Rangers in the American League West with more than four months remaining in the season. Changes were inevitable following a rough series with Texas this past weekend.

According to an official release from the club, Los Angeles has relieved hitting coach Mickey Hatcher of duties effective immediately. He will be replaced by Triple-A Salt Lake hitting coach Jim Eppard.

"Sometimes in sports world a point is reached where perhaps a new voice is needed," said general manager Jerry Dipoto in the statement, "Unfortunately, we feel this is one of those times. Offensively, we have underachieved and everyone shares in responsibility. We think the absolute world of Mickey as a person and thank him for all of his contributions to this organization."

Fans can speculate all you want, but you have to think Albert Pujols had a lot to do with this firing. When he is going right he can carry a ball club offensively all by himself. Pujols had just one homer, 12 RBIs and an OPS of .510 entering Tuesday, so perhaps it is indeed time for a change of voice around the team.

For more on the Angels, check out Halos Heaven.