Anaheim, CA – The Angels Tuesday announced the club has made a change to the Major League coaching staff, adding Salt Lake City (AAA) hitting coach, Jim Eppard to replace Mickey Hatcher. The move was made following today’s game against Oakland with an announcement by General Manager Jerry Dipooto.
“We think the absolute world of Mickey as a person and thank him for all of his contributions to this organization,” said Dipoto.
“Sometimes in the sports world a point is reached where perhaps a new voice is needed in order to attain the desired goals and objectives. Unfortunately we feel this is one of those times. Offensively we have underachieved and everyone shares in the responsibility of what has transpired thus far,” added Dipoto.
The 2012 campaign represents Eppard’s 10th season in both the Angels organization and with the Salt Lake City Bees. Previously, he spent eight seasons with the Colorado Rockies’ minor league system, including five as a manager and three seasons as the hitting coach for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox. Under his instruction, the Sky Sox never finished lower than sixth in the PCL in batting average (sixth in 2002, second in 2001, and third in 2000).
In 2011, the Bees tied for fifth in the PCL in batting average at .289 and ranked third with 51 triples. With Eppard’s direction in 2010, Mark Trumbo led all of Triple-A in home runs (36) while Peter Bourjos set PCL records for hits and runs scored in July. In 2008, the Bees finished sixth in the league in average at .285, fifth in home runs (168), and fourth in the league in total hits (1,426). Salt Lake owned a ,289 average in 2007, finishing fourth in the PCL, while in 2006, the team was second in the circuit with 798 runs scored.
Eppard, 52, played professional baseball for 12 years, including four at the Major League level with the California Angels and Toronto Blue Jays. He won minor league batting titles in 1982, 1985, 1987 and 1990. While with Edmonton in 1987, Eppard led the PCL with a .341 average. He played collegiate baseball at the University of California and was selected in the 13th round of the 1982 draft by the Oakland Athletics.
Hatcher, 57, was in his 13th season as the Angels hitting coach, and 36th in professional baseball. His 2009 hitters set several franchise records including average (.285) hits (1,604), runs (883) and RBI (841)
After playing high school baseball for Mesa High School (AZ), Hatcher attended the University of Oklahoma and was drafted twice (in 1974 in the 12th round by the Houston Astros and in 1976 in the second round by the New York Mets) before signing with the Dodgers in 1977.
Hatcher played 15 years professionally, including 12 in the Major Leagues. He appeared with the Dodgers (1979-80, 1987-90) and Minnesota (1981-86). He began his coaching career in 1991 as a player-coach with Albuquerque prior to taking over as third base coach the following season.
He served as first base coach for the Texas Rangers in 1993-94. Hatcher would eventually serve as the hitting instructor under Mike Scioscia with Albuquerque in 1999 before joining him with the Angels that same winter.