Mets fire hitting coach Hudgens after loss

NEW YORK (AP) The New York Mets fired hitting coach Dave Hudgens and cut reliever Jose Valverde after a 5-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday.

Minor league hitting coordinator Lamar Johnson will take over for Hudgens.

The 57-year-old Hudgens was in his fourth season as the Mets' hitting coach. The Mets began the day with a .237 batting average, ranking among the worst in the majors.

New York has lost nine of its last 12 games and scored a total of just 32 runs in that span.

''Sometimes you make change for change,'' manager Terry Collins said.

''This is by no means Dave Hudgens' fault. Not whatsoever,'' he said. ''It's about trying to get the execution better. We'll see if change helps.''

The Mets have tried to implement a plan of patience at the plate in the majors and minors, but the results have not shown.

''When you struggle the way we've struggled offensively, a finger, obviously, gets pointed. A lot of times that finger gets pointed unfairly,'' Mets star David Wright said.

Valverde gave up four runs while getting only two outs in the eighth and ninth innings as the Pirates took the lead. The 36-year-old righty was 1-1 with a 5.66 ERA.

Valverde joined the Mets this year after pitching for Detroit last season. He briefly was New York's closer before losing the job.

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