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Tampa Bay Rays hire Wesley Chapel resident Derek Shelton as hitting coach

PHILADELPHIA — Derek Shelton figures this is a good situation.

Shelton was announced Wednesday as the Rays' hitting coach and already has plans to address one of their primary shortcomings: lack of success in situational hitting.

"It's important, and it's something that's going to be stressed from Day 1 in spring training," Shelton said. "The big thing we're going to try to talk about and be consistent with is making sure our approach stays consistent.''

Among the concepts he'll stress: pitch selection, making more use of the middle of the field, and "team offense."

Shelton, 39, spent the past five seasons as the Indians' hitting coach then was let go along with manager Eric Wedge and the rest of the staff.

A former minor-league coach with the Indians and Yankees, he has lived in Wesley Chapel the past 15 years and is excited about joining the Rays, where he'll replace Steve Henderson.

Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman praised Shelton's attention to detail and communication skills and called him "one of the better minds in baseball when it comes to hitting." Manager Joe Maddon said he and Shelton have similar philosophies and hiring him was "an easy decision."

Around the majors

VALENTINE on deck: Former Mets manager Bobby Valentine will have his second interview with the Indians today. He will be the second managerial finalist to have a sit-down interview, after former Nationals manager Manny Acta.

PUJOLS HAS SURGERY: Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols had arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow, with doctors removing bone chips and trimming bone spurs. He is expected to recover fully in time for next season.

METS PROFIT: The trustee overseeing jailed financier Bernard Madoff's assets labeled the Mets winners in the fraud, saying they made nearly $48 million in the Ponzi scheme. Court-appointed trustee Irving Picard labeled investors who withdrew more money from Madoff than they invested as net winners.

FEHR PACKAGE: Donald Fehr will receive an $11 million severance package from the Major League Baseball Players Association when he leaves as executive director.

CUBS: Rudy Jaramillo was hired as hitting coach to try to resurrect an offense that struggled last season. Jaramillo spent 15 years as Rangers hitting coach.

RANGERS: Pittsburgh attorney Chuck Greenberg, a potential new owner, and his advisers met with club officials from baseball and business operations. Houston businessman Jim Crane and his advisers did so Tuesday.

TWINS: Top Dominican prospect Miguel Angel Sano was granted a work visa to play in the United States next year. Sano, 16, a slugging shortstop, will get a $3.15 million bonus that was contingent upon obtaining the visa.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

Tampa Bay Rays hire Wesley Chapel resident Derek Shelton as hitting coach 10/22/09 [Last modified: Thursday, October 22, 2009 9:32am]

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