Padres fire Plantier as hitting coach

SAN DIEGO (AP) Phil Plantier is the latest hitting coach to be fired by the San Diego Padres.

Plantier was dismissed Wednesday after three years on the job.

The Padres hit .226 last year, worst in the big leagues. They were hitting .210 on June 30.

Manager Bud Black said he and general manager A.J. Preller decided that the Padres needed ''a new voice'' at hitting coach. Black said the Padres hope Plantier remains with the organization in some capacity.

Plantier had been the sixth hitting coach since the Padres began playing in spacious Petco Park in 2004.

Plantier replaced Randy Ready, who was fired a day after the Padres finished last in the NL West at 71-91 in 2011. The other Padres hitting coaches during the team's time at Petco Park have been Dave Magadan, Merv Rettenmund, Wally Joyner and Jim Lefebvre. All were fired except Joyner, who resigned late in the 2008 season, before he could be fired.

Plantier had three stints with the Padres in the 1990s. He also played for Boston, Houston, Oakland and St. Louis.

Plantier's assistant, Alonzo Powell, will return and will be among the candidates to interview for the hitting coach position.

Also returning will be bench coach Dave Roberts, pitching coach Darren Balsley, third base coach Glenn Hoffman, first base coach Jose Valentin and bullpen coach Willie Blair.

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