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UNSTEADY WITH EDDIE DESPITE DODGERS' RECENT SURGE, MURRAY FIRED AS TEAM'S HITTING COACH MUELLER WILL TAKE OVER IN AN INTERIM ROLE.



Byline: TONY JACKSON
This article is about the United States composer. For the UK bass guitarist see Tony Jackson (bass player). For the former St. John's standout see Tony Jackson (basketball player)


Anthony (Antonio) Jackson, best known as Tony Jackson
 

Staff Writer

Drawing the conclusion that a great hitter doesn't necessarily make a great hitting coach, the Dodgers announced Thursday that they had fired Eddie Murray
    For the former American football player, see Eddie Murray (football).
Eddie Clarence Murray (born February 24, 1956 in Los Angeles, California) is a former Major League Baseball first baseman who was known as one of the most reliable and productive hitters of his era,
, barely 17 months after he was hired.

Murray, a first-ballot Hall of Famer as a switch-hitting infielder, now has been dismissed midseason as hitting coach by two different clubs in the past three seasons.

The move came immediately after Wednesday night's 9-1 victory over the New York Mets
"Mets" redirects here. For the medical term, see Metastasis. For the file format, see METS.
The New York Mets are a professional baseball club based in the borough of Queens, in New York City, New York.
.

"We had some players we were expecting much more out of than we are getting now," Dodgers manager Grady Little William Grady Little (born March 30, 1950 in Abilene, Texas) is a manager in Major League Baseball. He guided the Boston Red Sox from 2002 to 2003, and has been manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers since 2006.  said. "We never do anything around here without carefully considering all of our options. We needed to make ourselves better, and we felt like this was the time to make a change."

Exactly what, or whom, they are changing to isn't immediately known. Bill Mueller
    William Richard Mueller [MILL-er] (born March 17, 1971) is a former Major League Baseball third baseman who currently serves as the hitting coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
    , a special assistant to general manager Ned Colletti Ned Louis Colletti, Jr. is the General Manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

    Colletti graduated from East Leyden High School in Franklin Park, Illinois and Northern Illinois University. Colletti began his Major League Career in 1982 with the Chicago Cubs.
    , will take over the role on an interim basis. Mueller, who is still being paid $4.5 million in the final season of his last playing contract after his career ended prematurely just more than a year ago because of a knee injury, will become, by far, the highest-paid hitting coach in baseball.

    Colletti said he wasn't sure how long the process of finding a permanent replacement for Murray will take.

    "Billy agreed to help us bridge the gap," Colletti said. "I can't tell you if that will be a day, a week or a month."

    Colletti said Mueller could be a candidate, but neither he nor Mueller seemed especially enthusiastic when the subject was raised.

    "To be honest, it is very difficult to think long-term just because this happened so fast," Mueller said. "I was just starting to adjust to a new role recently, and I would be dishonest to (tell) you I had really thought of it beyond right now. There are many factors in my own personal life that will determine whether I want to do this long-term or not."

    There is a strong possibility the new hitting coach will be someone already employed by the organization. Roving minor-league hitting instructor Bill Robinson, Triple-A Las Vegas Las Vegas (läs vā`gəs), city (1990 pop. 258,295), seat of Clark co., S Nev.; inc. 1911. It is the largest city in Nevada and the center of one of the fastest-growing urban areas in the United States.  hitting coach Mike Easler
      Michael Anthony Easler (born on November 29, 1950 in Cleveland, Ohio) is a former Major League Baseball outfielder with a 14 year career from 1973 to 1987. He played for the Houston Astros, Pittsburgh Pirates and Philadelphia Phillies all of the National League and the
       and roving outfield/baserunning coordinator Gene Clines
        Eugene Anthony (Gene) Clines (born October 6, 1946 in San Pablo, California) is a former outfielder in Major League Baseball, Clines played for the Pittsburgh Pirates (1970-1974), New York Mets (1975), Texas Rangers (1976) and Chicago Cubs (1977-1979).
         all would be logical candidates.

        Although neither Colletti nor Little mentioned any of them by name, it was obvious from a Colletti comment that he and Little are leaning strongly in the direction of the club's player development department.

        "These things "These Things" is an EP by She Wants Revenge, released in 2005 by Perfect Kiss, a subsidiary of Geffen Records. Music Video
        The music video stars Shirley Manson, lead singer of the band Garbage. Track Listing
        1. "These Things [Radio Edit]" - 3:17
        2.
         are ... especially difficult in the midst Adv. 1. in the midst - the middle or central part or point; "in the midst of the forest"; "could he walk out in the midst of his piece?"
        midmost
         of a season," Colletti said. "Before we upset our minor-league system and have people moving around into different positions because we removed somebody from that area, we want to be sure that is the direction we want to pursue."

        Asked if the club would consider candidates both from within and from outside the organization, Colletti offered only a tepid response.

        "We'll see," he said.

        The Dodgers led the National League in hitting last season with a collective average of .276, and they were fourth in runs scored. But they also hit fewer home runs than all but one other club. This year, the Dodgers are sixth in the NL with a .261 average, tied for seventh in runs scored and, again, next to last in home runs with a laughable 43.

        Murray, a Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850.  native who lives in Canyon Country, wasn't held responsible for much of that because those numbers are consistent with the makeup of the club. Furthermore, his firing comes on the heels of an impressive three-game sweep of the Mets in which the Dodgers scored 18runs and batted a resounding re·sound  
        v. re·sound·ed, re·sound·ing, re·sounds

        v.intr.
        1. To be filled with sound; reverberate: The schoolyard resounded with the laughter of children.

        2.
         .307 as a team.

        But there have long been whispers from within the organization about the degree to which players responded to Murray's sometimes-brusque, not-always-communicative style.

        Center fielder Juan Pierre Juan D'Vaughn Pierre (born August 14, 1977 in Mobile, Alabama), is a professional baseball center fielder who plays for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He bats and throws left-handed.

        In his seven years through 2006, Pierre has batted .
        , whom the club signed as a free agent last winter to a five-year, $44-million contract and whose game is built around speed, is only now showing signs of getting on track, and his approach at the plate -- too many fly balls, not enough walks -- has been questionable all season.

        Third baseman third baseman
        n. Baseball
        The infielder stationed near third base.

        Noun 1. third baseman - (baseball) the person who plays third base
        third sacker
         Wilson Betemit, like Murray a switch-hitter with power, was hitting well below .200 until a recent binge of hitting and drawing walks helped him rebound to his current .223.

        Murray also was fired as Cleveland's hitting coach midway through the 2005 season. He had held that job since 2002.

        Robinson, who will turn 64 in two weeks, is in his second season with the Dodgers, and his resume as a big-league hitting coach is impressive. He served in that role for two different World Series-winning clubs: the 1986 New York Mets and the 2003 Florida Marlins. That Marlins club had Pierre, who had arguably his two best seasons under Robinson after being traded to Florida from Colorado.

        Easler, 56, also is in his second season with the organization. He moved up to Las Vegas this year from Double-A Jacksonville, so he has spent countless hours working with some of the club's most promising young players, including current big leaguers Tony Abreu and Matt Kemp, and Las Vegas third baseman Andy LaRoche. Easler also has been a big-league hitting coach for three different clubs.

        Clines, 60, is in his first season with the organization and has a long association with Colletti. He has been a major-league hitting coach for five different teams, including the past two seasons with the Chicago Cubs and from 1997-2002 with San Francisco, when Colletti was the Giants' assistant GM.

        tony.jackson@dailynews.com

        (818) 713-3675

        CAPTION(S):

        2 photos

        Photo:

        (1 -- color) Eddie Murray was fired midseason as hitting coach for the second time in the past three seasons after the Dodgers dismissed him Thursday.

        Richard Drew/Associated Press

        (2 -- color) no caption (Russel Martin) Box: ANGELS at DODGERS
        COPYRIGHT 2007 Daily News
        No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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        Article Details
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        Title Annotation:Sports
        Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
        Date:Jun 15, 2007
        Words:965
        Previous Article:L.A. CONFIDENTIAL.
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