Mark McGwire was hired Wednesday as hitting coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he’ll work with All-Star sluggers Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier.
McGwire spent the past three seasons in the same job with the St. Louis Cardinals, where he starred during parts of his 16-year major league career. During McGwire’s tenure, the Cardinals led the National League in batting average (.269) and on-base percentage (.337), ranked second in runs (2,263) and fourth in slugging percentage (.416).
He worked with All-Star sluggers Carlos Beltran, Lance Berkman, Matt Holliday and Albert Pujols, while helping develop 2011 World Series MVP David Freese.
The job is a homecoming for McGwire, who is from the Los Angeles suburb of Pomona and currently lives in Orange County. He played college baseball at Southern California and was a member of Oakland’s 1989 World Series champion team.
McGwire replaces Dave Hansen, who was let go last month and hired by the Seattle Mariners for the same job.
Mets dump Bay
Jason Bay’s fraught tenure with the New York Mets came to an end Wednesday as the club announced an agreement with the outfielder for an early expiration of his contract. The terms of the buyout were not officially disclosed by the team.
Bay was owed $16 million for the 2013 season, and the Mets would have had to pay $3 million to buy out his contract for 2014. He was signed by the Mets as a free agent before the 2011 season in a four-year, $65 million deal.
“Jason is a great teammate, hard worker, stand-up guy and true gentleman,” the team’s chief operating officer, Jeff Wilpon, said in a statement. “Like Jason, we had planned for the kind of production here that he enjoyed in Boston and Pittsburgh, where he established himself as one of the game’s top players. We wish Jason and his family success and happiness in the future.”
Bay and his mammoth contract became a prime target of Mets’ fans frustrations in recent years. Over the past three seasons, he batted .234 with a total of 26 homers and 124 runs batted in.
Bay seemed to hit bottom this season, hitting .165 with eight home runs and 20 RBI in 70 games while battling injuries.
Red Sox hire Nieves
The Boston Red Sox hired Juan Nieves to join John Farrell’s staff as pitching coach.
Nieves, 47, spent 14 seasons in the Chicago White Sox organization, the last five as bullpen coach.
Over three seasons in the major leagues, Nieves had a 32-25 record and a 4.71 ERA with the Milwaukee Brewers. He was the first pitcher in Brewers history and first native of Puerto Rico to throw a no-hitter.
He had three shutouts as a rookie in 1986 and the next year he won 14 games and struck out 163 in 195⅔ innings.
Padres catcher suspended
San Diego Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal was suspended 50 games because of a positive test for testosterone.
The commissioner’s office announced the drug penalty on Wednesday. The ban will take effect at the start of next season.
Grandal made his big-league debut this year. He hit .297 with eight home runs and 36 RBI in 60 games. He turns 24 on Thursday.
“I apologize to the fans, my teammates and to the San Diego Padres,” he said in a statement. “I was disappointed to learn of my positive test and under the joint drug program I am responsible for what I put into my body. I must accept responsibility for my actions and serve my suspension.”
The Padres said in a statement they’re disappointed in Grandal’s violation of MLB’s drug prevention and treatment program.
Grandal, who’s from La Habana, Cuba, was selected by Cincinnati with the 12th pick in the 2010 draft and joined the Padres with Edinson Volquez and two other players in a Dec. 17 trade that sent pitcher Mat Latos to the Reds. Grandal made his major- league debut last season and hit .297 with eight home runs and 36 runs batted-in over 60 games.
In his first MLB start, on June 30 in Colorado, Grandal hit home runs both right-handed and left-handed. It was the first time in history that a player had homers from both sides of the plate for his first two career major-league hits, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
There have been seven suspensions this year under the major-league program. Six of them were for peformance-enhancing drugs — including Melky Cabrera and Bartolo Colon for positive testosterone tests — and one for a stimulant.
The seven suspensions are the most in a year under the big league drug program since there were eight in 2007.
There have been 101 suspensions this year under the minor league drug problem.
Young pleads guilty
Former Detroit Tigers slugger Delmon Young pleaded guilty Wednesday to aggravated harassment for shouting an anti-Semitic slur and tackling a man to the ground outside a New York City hotel last spring.
The 27-year-old, who became a free agent after the World Series, was ordered to complete 10 days of community service and enroll in a program at the Museum of Tolerance New York as part of the Manhattan District Attorney’s office restorative justice program. His lawyer didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.
Young was standing outside of the Hilton New York and was accused of yelling anti-Jewish epithets at a group of tourists, tussling with them and tackling one to the ground in April, when the Tigers were in town to play the New York Yankees.
Young apologized to his team and was suspended without pay for seven days by Major League Baseball, costing him approximately $257,240 of his $6,725,000 salary.
He batted .267 during the season with 18 homers and 74 RBI, and had a tying home run in the sixth inning of Game 4 of the World Series. San Francisco won 4-3 in 10 innings to complete a sweep the Tigers.
Young hit three home runs and had a .313 batting average in the postseason.
In the court-ordered program, Young will participate in interactive workshops, videos, guided discussions and special instruction by museum educators to explore issues of prejudice, diversity, and tolerance, the district attorney’s office said.
The museum reports progress back to prosecutors. If Young completes the program successfully he’ll be able to withdraw his plea and plead guilty to a lesser charge.
Ex-N.Y. prospect sentenced
A judge in New Bern, N.C., sentenced former New York Yankees pitching prospect Brien Taylor to 38 months in prison after he pleaded guilty in August to distributing crack cocaine.
Taylor, 40, told U.S. District Court Judge Louise W. Flanagan during Wednesday’s sentencing hearing that he was sorry for causing so much pain to his family and his five daughters.