LOS ANGELES (AP) -The Dodgers fired Hall of Famer Eddie Murray as hitting coach Thursday - a day after completing a three-game sweep of the NL East-leading New York Mets in which they got 31 hits and scored 18 runs.
Bill Mueller, hired as special assistant to general manager Ned Colletti during the offseason, will serve as interim hitting coach.
The Dodgers led the NL with a .276 batting average and a .348 on-base percentage last year - Murray's first as their hitting coach - and reached the playoffs as the NL wild-card team. They're 38-28 and percentage points behind NL West-leading San Diego despite hitting just .261 and averaging 4.4 runs per game.
``Change is never easy, but sometimes it is necessary, and we feel that this is the best thing right now to help the team win,'' manager Grady Little said in a statement. ``Our offense hasn't lived up to our expectations, and no one person is responsible for the results we've had this season.''
The 51-year-old Murray is one of only three players in big-league history to get 3,000 hits and hit 500 homers. A switch hitter who spent most of his career with the Baltimore Orioles, he played for the Dodgers from 1989-91 and again in 1997 before retiring with 3,255 hits and 504 homers.
The 36-year-old Mueller retired at the end of last season with a lifetime batting average of .291 in 11 seasons with the Giants, Cubs, Red Sox and Dodgers.
``Bill Mueller will serve as a very solid bridge as we look for our next hitting coach,'' Colletti said. ``He already has a great reputation within the clubhouse and he has a very deep knowledge of our team and the rest of the league.''
Mueller hit .326 for the Red Sox to win the AL batting championship in 2003, and was a member of Boston's world championship team the following year.
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