Tampa Bay Rays hitting coach Derek Shelton sits on the bench in the dugout during a spring training baseball game against the Minnesota Twins on Friday, March 25, 2016, in Port Charlotte, Fla. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Tony Gutierrez
September 06, 2016

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Tampa Bay has fired hitting coach Derek Shelton and replaced him with Chad Mottola, the organization's minor league hitting coordinator.

The team announced the moves before Tuesday night's game against Baltimore.

Mottola will join the Rays for a four-game series against New York at Yankee Stadium that starts Thursday night.

Shelton was in his seventh season as Tampa Bay's hitting coach.

Rays president of baseball operations Matt Silverman praised Shelton for his energy and work ethic, but said the team felt ''it was time for a new voice.''

Tampa Bay is hitting an AL-low .243 this season. However, the Rays rank near the top in the majors with a plus-53 run differential since the All-Star break.

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