May 26, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Jose Valverde (47) pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the ninth inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

New York Mets release Jose Valverde, fire hitting coach

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Following the team’s 5-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday, the New York Mets took the opportunity to start making some changes to a roster that has continued to underperform this season. Veteran reliever Jose Valverde was released by the team and they also fired their hitting coach, Dave Hudgens. ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin first had the news on both moves, adding word that Hudgens would be replaced by Lamar Johnson, the organization’s minor league hitting coordinator.

 

Having initially joined the team on a minor league deal during the offseason, Valverde was given an opportunity to step into a high leverage role for the Mets following the injury to Bobby Parnell and the ineffectiveness of Kyle Farnsworth. Like many others in the team’s bullpen, however, he was hardly effective on the mound and Monday’s outing was just the latest in what’s been a rough season. Valverde walked one and allowed four hits, resulting in four runs scored and a blown save against the Pirates. In 20.2 IP on the season his ERA now stands at 5.56.

Valverde holds a career 3.22 ERA and 1.190 WHIP with 288 saves in parts of 12 seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Houston Astros, Detroit Tigers, and Mets. Once considered one of the more reliable closers in baseball, his past two seasons have been certain disappointments and it’s unclear how quickly the 36 year old might get another opportunity.

Monday’s loss dropped the Mets to 22-28 on the season, six games behind the division leading Atlanta Braves. While the team’s seen inconsistent performances from their bullpen, the offense has been a major cause for concern which likely led to Hudgens’ dismissal. The team is 10th in the National League in runs scored. Their .237 batting average is fourth worst and their .352 slugging percentage is second worst in the league. Hudgens had been in the role since the 2011 season, but it was clearly time for a change.

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