Baker, Hendry Discuss Coaching Changes

The Cubs fired third base coach Wendell Kim and switched the jobs of Gary Matthews and Gene Clines. Matthews changed from hitting coach to first-base coach, and Clines has gone from first-base coach to hitting coach.

"We felt like Gene Clines is a quality, quality hitting coach and worked well in San Francisco," Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said. "We had numerous calls over the years requesting permission for Gene to be interviewed as other major league clubs' hitting coaches.

"Gene has stayed loyal to the Cubs and loyal to Dusty and declined to take those interviews. In my own personal evaluation of Gene in the last couple of years, I felt that he was someone we did not want to lose."

The Cubs offense was up-and-down in 2004 and fizzled during a 2-8 stretch to end the season. Before that stretch, they were 1 1/2 games in the National League wild-card lead and then fell off the pace. Expectations for the Cubs to make it to the World Series were high and they couldn't even make it to the playoffs.

Kim came under fire in his two years in Chicago for his aggressive style, which had gotten some runners gunned down at home plate. He took responsibility and blame after some ill-advised judgment calls, but it wasn't enough to save his job.

Cubs manager Dusty Baker, who said at the end of the season that he hoped his coaches would be back and didn't believe in "fall guys," had lengthy talks with Hendry about the coaching staff.

"I can't tell you what was in the discussions, but certainly we discussed it," Baker said. "We're in the same organization and we have the same goals and needs. And this is what we came up with."

"Dusty is a tremendously loyal man," Hendry said. "And in a perfect world, you hate to have to make decisions like this. We both felt it was time to do something different."

The Cubs are looking both internally and externally for a replacement for Kim.

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