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posted: 6/12/2012 7:30 PM

Cubs dismiss hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo

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  • After great success in Texas, the Cubs lured Rudy Jaramillo with a hefty three-year contract to become their hitting coach to start the 2010 season. Tuesday they dismissed Jaramillo, who was in the final year of his deal.

      After great success in Texas, the Cubs lured Rudy Jaramillo with a hefty three-year contract to become their hitting coach to start the 2010 season. Tuesday they dismissed Jaramillo, who was in the final year of his deal.
    BRUCE MILES | Staff Photographer/file


Cubs president Theo Epstein said Tuesday's firing of hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo was based more on philosophy than results.

It also marked another break with the previous regime at Wrigley Field.

While the results certainly have not been good for the Cubs offense this season, the move was hardly surprising, based on the patient, or "selectively aggressive," hitting approach the new Cubs front office espouses.

Jaramillo, 61, was let go in his third season. He was hired amid much hoopla by former general manager Jim Hendry in the fall of 2009. The Cubs replaced him on an interim basis with James Rowson, the organization's minor-league hitting coordinator.

Epstein pointed out the Cubs' team on-base percentage has fallen every year since they led the National League in 2008.

Entering Tuesday's interleague game against the Detroit, the Cubs had a record of 20-40 and ranked 14th in the NL in runs scored, 11th in home runs, 12th in slugging and 15th in OBP.

"I think it's more about philosophy going forward," Epstein said. "Rudy's not to blame for the results. That's something that we're all accountable for. We put the roster together. It's probably more on us than it is on him. I'm sure our players feel accountable, too.

"It's not based on results. It's more of try to get a new voice or a new message. We have a certain hitting philosophy we believe in, and we have a lot of growth that awaits us as an organization. Rudy's a phenomenal hitting coach with a great track record. He's had a great career. I'm sure he's going to go somewhere else and make a real impact there. At this time, to get where we want to go, it made sense to sort of commit fully to a new message."

When Epstein ran the Boston Red Sox as GM, he stressed patience at the plate, with hitters seeing a lot of pitches every plate appearance.

"I think it's more just emphasis than anything else," Epstein said. "Rudy is so good. He might be the best in the world at the mechanics of the swing. We're really trying to get to a point where we have a game plan for our hitters, emphasizing selective aggressiveness at the plate. Seeing a lot of pitches and focusing on getting your pitch to hit.

"That's nothing new. It's Page 1 of Ted Williams' book. Get your pitch to hit. I know Rudy's a believer in that, as well. I think we really need to emphasize as an organization, 'Get your pitch to hit, be selective, so that when you get your pitch, you can be aggressive on it.' Our goal is not to walk. Our goal is to get your pitch in your count so you can put an aggressive swing on the ball and drive it."

Jaramillo had success with the Texas Rangers before coming to the Cubs. Left fielder Alfonso Soriano expressed sadness to see him go after working with Jaramillo in Texas and Chicago.

"Yeah, it's very said when I see somebody I've been working with a long time (get fired), but that's part of the game," he said. "We did not do a good job, but he didn't have the bat at home plate. Sometimes they want to do some moves, and I think they made it because we did not have a very good offense the last two months."

First baseman Bryan LaHair came into his own this year as a hitter.

"It's a tough day," LaHair said. "I think it's a tough day for everybody. He's part of our team, one of our brothers. I learned a lot from Rudy. I like the separation of my hands and the balance that I gained from his style. I'm glad I know what I'm doing with it."

Rowson, 35, is in his first season with the Cubs. He spent six seasons in the Yankees organization, including the last four as their minor-league hitting coordinator. He expressed surprise at the move and said he'd tailor his approach to each hitter.

"I feel like it's just building relationships," he said. "While I'm here, I'm just going to start learning these guys, talking to them, getting to know them, just building relationships. That's the way it usually works. The stronger the relationship you build, the better off it works."

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