Henderson out as Rays hitting coach

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Rays have fired hitting coach Steve Henderson following a season in which the Rays set team records for runs, home runs, on-base percentage and walks.

Henderson had been with the Rays organization for 12 seasons, including five as hitting coach. The team also said Monday that the position of quality assurance coach held by former major leaguer Todd Greene has been eliminated.

Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said by not renewing the contract of Henderson that the club was not blaming him for the team finishing 19 games behind the New York Yankees in the AL East a year after winning the division and AL pennant.

Although the Rays improved statistically in a number of offensive categories, situational hitting woes have been a concern for both Friedman and manager Joe Maddon.

Five other members of Maddon's staff -- bench coach Dave Martinez, third base coach Tom Foley, first base coach George Hendrick, bullpen coach Bobby Ramos and pitching coach Jim Hickey -- will return in 2010.