The Cleveland Indians’ struggling offense has finally caught up to someone, and that man was hitting coach Jon Nunnally. The Tribe informed the 39-year old former Indians’ draft pick that he was relieved of his duties yesterday afternoon. Minor League Hitting Instructor Bruce Fields will take over for the rest of the year.
Nunnally has held the position since Acta took over as manager at the start of the 2010 season. Jon played parts of six seasons in the majors with Kansas City, Cincinnati, Boston, and the Mets and had a career .246 batting average with 42 homers. Nunnally also spent time as a hitting coach in the Tribe system at Kinston and Columbus.
To be completely honest, it had crossed my mind a couple of times during Cleveland’s offensive skid if Nunnally’s job was in jeopardy, but I figured he had a little longer leash than he apparently did. Then again, with the offensive struggles of Carlos Santana, Shin-Soo Choo, and Grady Sizemore, a third of the Tribe’s young core and everyday lineup isn’t currently producing the way they should, and they haven’t for a while. The timing seems a bit off to me, but perhaps Acta’s outspoken callout of Santana may have been meant just as much for Nunnally.
The players reportedly liked Nunnally quite a bit. Acta said before today’s game that he likes Jon too, but he’s doing what’s best for the team and Bruce Fields can help this team now. The Indians currently rank 7th in offense in the American League, averaging 4.4 runs per game. They are, however 10th in batting average at .251 and rank just 9th in homers (62). They have been shutout six times this season and have the 3rd most strikeouts in the AL as a team.
Fields, 50, has been the Indians’ minor league hitting coordinator for the past four seasons. He also served as the Toledo Mud Hens’ manager from 2001-2002 and the Tigers’ hitting coach from 2003-2005. He is originally from Cleveland.