April 18, 2014

Washington Nationals Fire Hitting Coach Rick Eckstein

The Washington Nationals have relieved Rick Eckstein as hitting coach and promoted Rick Schu to take his place.

Eckstein took over as the Nationals’ hitting coach in September 2008 after serving as the hitting coach for the Triple-A Columbus Clippers. He also served as the hitting coach on the U.S. National Team in the 2008 Olympics.

The brother of former MLB infielder David Eckstein, Rick played college ball at the University of Florida before an injury ended his career. In 1999, he served as bullpen catcher and batting practice pitcher for the Tampa Bay Devil Ray before joining the Minnesota Twins in a similar role the following year.

Prior to his role as minor-league hitting coordinator, Schu served as the hitting coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks from July 2007 until May 2009.

A former third baseman with the Philadelphia Phillies (1984-1987, 1991), Schu also enjoyed brief stints with the Baltimore Orioles (1988, 1989), Detroit Tigers (1989), California Angels (1990) and Montreal Expos (1996), as well as with the Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan (1993-1994).

In late 2012, it was rumored that the Boston Red Sox had considered Schu as a hitting coach candidate.

The Nationals have a .240 team batting average, which currently ranks 13th in the National League.

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