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Washington Nationals fire hitting coach Rick Eckstein

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Hired by the Nationals before the 2009 season, Rick Eckstein was the longest-tenured hitting coach in the N.L. East.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The slumping Washington Nationals have fired hitting coach Rick Eckstein, who paid the price for the team's offensive woes this season.

Washington entered play Monday stuck in a three-game losing streak and a disappointing 48-50 record. The team is tied for 28th overall in runs and ranks 27th in batting average.

Eckstein was hired as the Nationals' batting coach before the 2009 season. He was the longest-tenured hitting coach in the NL East.

He was replaced Monday by Rick Schu, who for the past four years has been the team's minor league hitting coordinator .

Schu has 16 years of coaching experience. While with Washington, he has worked with several current Nationals, including Bryce Harper. Before coming to the Nationals, Schu spent parts of four seasons as Arizona's hitting coach.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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