NEW YORK -- For the second consecutive year, the New York Yankees have determined that a hitting coach was the cause of their offensive woes.
According to a story in Sunday's New York Post, the Yankees have parted ways with Jeff Pentland, who was let go after one season despite marked improvements by the club in home runs and runs scored, and a return to postseason play for the first time since 2012.
Ironically, the hitting coach Pentland replaced, Kevin Long, is now working for the New York Mets, who are three victories away from the World Series.
The dismissal of Pentland, 69, comes as something of a surprise since the 2015 Yankees hit 65 more home runs (212 as opposed to 147), scored 131 more runs (764-633) and also posted a higher batting average (.251-.245) and on-base percentage (.323-.307) than the 2014 Yankees. Only three teams in baseball hit more home runs than the Yankees, and only one, the Toronto Blue Jays, scored more runs.
Pentland, along with assistant coach Alan Cockrell, was also credited with the turnaround of Didi Gregorius, who hit .294 over the second half of the season.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman did not immediately return a call seeking comment, but Pentland told the Post he was informed by Cashman last week that he would not be returning.
"When I signed, I was told it was probably a one-year deal,'' Pentland told the paper. "That was always in the back of my mind, but we didn't look too good the last month. It's the Yankees, that's the best way to describe it. I have no regrets."
The Yankees also dismissed bullpen coach Gary Tuck. Among candidates mentioned as possible replacements for Pentland are Cockrell, former Yankee Raul Ibanez and Dave Magadan, most recently the hitting coach for the Texas Rangers. Former Yankee Marcus Thames, currently coaching in the minor league system, could also be a candidate.