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Pittsburgh Pirates fire hitting coach Rick Eckstein amid woeful season

Sep 17, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA;  Pittsburgh Pirates hitting coach Rick Eckstein (left) talks with left fielder Kevin Kramer (right) at the batting cage before the game against the Seattle Mariners at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 17, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates hitting coach Rick Eckstein (left) talks with left fielder Kevin Kramer (right) at the batting cage before the game against the Seattle Mariners at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Pirates fired hitting coach Rick Eckstein on Monday.

The Pirates, who are 48-83 and 31 games behind the National League Central division-leading Milwaukee Brewers, are last or near the bottom of most hitting categories in Major League Baseball.

They are last in runs scored (470), home runs (101), RBIs (445), slugging percentage (.362) and OPS (.665). At .233, their batting average is fourth-lowest in the majors.

Eckstein, 47, is the older brother of retired major leaguer David Eckstein. The Pirates hired him in 2019.

“We are grateful for Rick’s dedication to the team and our players,” general manager Ben Cherington said. “This was a difficult decision as we have a great deal of respect for Rick. Making the decision now gives us the opportunity to use the rest of the season to focus on improvements in our hitting program while also starting the process of looking for a replacement. We wish Rick all the best moving forward.”

–Field Level Media