Kim often criticized for being too aggressive
CHICAGO -- The fallout from the Chicago Cubs' disappointing finish started Monday.
Third-base coach Wendell Kim, often criticized for being too aggressive in sending runners home, won't be back next year. Also, Gene Clines is replacing Gary Matthews as hitting coach, with Matthews taking Clines' old spot at first base.
Matthews also will be responsible for outfield instruction and baserunning.
"It was very difficult," manager Dusty Baker said. "You have to make tough decisions sometimes. It was a tough decision with Wendell and an equally tough decision with Gary Matthews."
After taking a 1½-game lead in the NL wild-card race, the Cubs lost seven of their last nine and missed the playoffs. Part of the collapse was due to timely hitting -- or the lack of it.
The Cubs scored most of their runs on homers, and often struggled to manufacture runs in close games. They were 19-30 in one-run games, including 0-for-5 down the stretch. Many of their big hitters struggled late, too, with leadoff hitter Corey Patterson batting just .190 in the last month of the season.
Sammy Sosa batted .253 for the year -- his lowest average since 1997 -- and failed to reach 100 RBI for the first time in 10 seasons.
"(Clines and Matthews) are very similar. Sometimes you need a different voice," Baker said of the switch. "A lot of times guys can say the same things, but say them different ways."
Pitching coach Larry Rothschild, bench coach Dick Pole and bullpen coach Juan Lopez will keep their same jobs for the 2005 seasons. Sonny Jackson also will return as Baker's special assistant.
General manager Jim Hendry said Triple-A manager Mike Quade would be considered for the third-base coach's job, and he'll look at outside candidates, as well.
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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