Last-place Pirates fire hitting coach Rick Eckstein

MLB Baseball

PITTSBURGH (AP)The last-place Pittsburgh Pirates have fired hitting coach Rick Eckstein.

The team made the announcement on Monday. The Pirates, who are in the early stages of a reboot under general manager Ben Cherington, have struggled to produce offense all season.

Pittsburgh entered Monday last in the majors in runs scored, home runs, slugging percentage and on-base plus slugging. The Pirates are also 27th in the majors in batting average and are on their way to a third straight last-place finish in the NL Central.

”Making the decision now gives us the opportunity to use the rest of the season to focus on improvements in our hitting program while also starting the process of looking for a replacement,” Cherington said in a statement. ”We wish Rick all the best moving forward.”

Former general manager Neal Huntington hired Eckstein, the brother of former major league second baseman David Eckstein, in November 2018.

The Pirates have overhauled their coaching staff since Eckstein joined the organization. The front office has been focused on stockpiling prospects, many of whom are still several years away from reaching the majors, leaving Eckstein little to work with.

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