Tampa Bay Rays fire hitting coach

Tampa Bay Rays fire hitting coach
Tampa Bay Rays hitting coach Derek Shelton gestures as he talks to Ben Zobrist before a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles Wednesday, May 7, 2014, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – Tampa Bay Rays hitting coach Derek Shelton was fired from his position with the team on Tuesday, according to a statement from the baseball organization.

“We are grateful for all that Derek has given to the Rays for the past seven seasons. He brought great energy to our clubhouse and his work ethic with our hitters was outstanding,” said Rays President of Baseball Operations Matt Silverman.

Named to the position in October 2009 after spending a half-decade with the Cleveland Indians, Shelton was the longest-tenured hitting coach for the Rays.

Citing the need for a new voice, Silverman announced Chad Mottola as the team’s new hitting coach. Mottola, who spent the three past seasons a minor league hitting coordinator for the Rays, will become the team’s seventh hitting coach in the organization’s history.

Mottola, who turns 45 next month, has spent time with the Reds, Blue Jays, Florida Marlins and Baltimore Orioles.

“In 2000, he was named International League Most Valuable Player after hitting 33 home runs and 102 RBI for Triple-A Syracuse (Blue Jays). Mottola retired as a player after the 2007 season,” the organization said in a prepared statement.

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