Murray Out, Mueller in as New Batting Coach

The announcement was short and terse, containing all the usual platitudes used when a manager/coach/player is fired or released. "The Dodgers announced today that they have dismissed Hitting Coach Eddie Murray and have named Bill Mueller as Interim Hitting Coach, according to Dodger Manager Grady Little."

"Change is never easy but sometimes it is necessary and we feel that this is the best thing right now to help the team win," said Little. "Our offense hasn't lived up to our expectations and no one person is responsible for the results we've had this season. I have the utmost respect for Eddie Murray as a person and as a professional and I wish him nothing but the best."

The Dodgers hired Little as manager in December, 2005, and Little and Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti selected Murray as hitting coach one month later.

The Dodgers led the National League with 5.06 runs a game last season, second only to the 1962 that scored 5.10 runs, and they led the National League with a .276 batting average (highest in L.A. history) and .348 (tied for third) on-base percentage.

This season, after 66 games, the Dodgers have posted a .261 team batting average, sixth in the National League, with 288 runs scored, tied for seventh in the league. They're tied for 14th in home runs with 52, and they rank 15th in slugging percentage at .383.

This is the second time Murray has been fired in the middle of the season. The Cleveland Indians dismissed him at hitting coach in June 2005.

Murray's personal hitting credentials are without peer. He is one of four players with 3,000 hits and 500 home runs, joining Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Rafael Palmeiro in the exclusive club. He played for the Dodgers from 1989 to 1991 and had a brief stay with them in his final season of 1997.

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