Originally posted on Fox Sports Kansas City  |  Last updated 5/30/13
KANSAS CITY, Mo. In a stunning move Thursday morning, the Kansas City Royals fired first-year hitting coaches Jack Maloof and Andre David, then announced Hall of Famer George Brett and minor league coach Pedro Grifol would assume the interim hitting coach positions effective tonight when the Royals conclude a two-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals. Brett, who just turned 60 earlier this month, has been the club's vice president of baseball operations since retiring after the 1993 season. Brett has worked with Royals hitters during virtually every spring training since, but has always taken a hands-off approach during the regular season out of respect to the clubs hitting coaches throughout the years. Brett also has maintained he wasnt interested in becoming a manager or hitting coach because he didn't want to spend that much time away from his family. But Royals general manager Dayton Moore may have persuaded Brett that these are desperate times. The Royals have lost eight straight and 19 of 23, and the offense has been mired in a season-long slump. Maloof and David were hired just last fall to replace the fired Kevin Seitzer. But the changes manager Ned Yost had hoped for with the switch more power from the lineup never came to fruition. The Royals are dead last in the American League in home runs with 28 and have hit just two home runs since May 14 both by 39-year-old backup infielder Miguel Tejada. Maloof's fate may have been sealed after a story on him appeared Wednesday on FOXSportsKansasCity.com in which he tried to explain that the team's lack of power had more to do with playing in spacious Kauffman Stadium than with the team's youth. "There is just no reward here (for us) to try and hit home runs," Maloof said. "We try to stay down on the ball, be more line-drive oriented, and do more situational hitting at least through the first two or three rounds (at home) here. That's why I'm not overly concerned because I think we'll lead the league in fewest home runs again this year. We don't have a 40-homer guy in the middle of the lineup. "We've got kids. Billy Butler is a doubles machine. No one has told me he is a home run hitting guy. If we try to do it too much, we'll get ourselves in trouble. Same thing with Alex (Gordon). They'll hit home runs on the road, and yes, they'll hit some here. They have. But the risk for them to go out and hit a home run in one of 80 at-bats, the reward isn't great enough. "Baltimore? Better reward. I'm not using it as an excuse. But it is a mindset." Opponents, though, have out-homered the Royals 32-11 at Kauffman Stadium. "Here's the thing: Other teams come in here from Anaheim or wherever and they have their swing already down," Maloof said. "This park doesn't even enter into their minds when they hit here. They have their swings, the same swings, because it pays dividends for them at home." Those comments caused an avalanche of controversy on Kansas City sports-talk radio and on social media. Both Maloof and David were reassigned to the Royals' minor leagues. "Obviously, things have not gone as we would have expected and in light of the downturn in offensive production and poor results weve decided to make a change," Moore said in a statement. "First of all, I can't thank Jack and Andre enough for accepting this challenge with the major league club. They are both tremendously knowledgeable and hard-working men who have already made our organization stronger by their work in the system. I'm thankful that this organization has one of the greatest hitters and, more importantly, one of the greatest competitors our game has ever seen in George Brett and he has accepted our offer to join the coaching staff on an interim basis." Brett is the Royals' all-time leader in hits with 3,154. Grifol is in his first year with the Royals and was initially assigned as the hitting coach for the rookie-league Surprise Royals. You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter at @jflanagankc or email him at jeffreyflanagan6@yahoo.com.
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