Kevin Long, the well-respected hitting coach who presided over a couple record-setting Yankees hitting seasons, was fired by the team after its failure to make the playoffs, sources said.
Long helped guide the team to a couple of its greatest offensive seasons but was a victim of disappointing veteran performance this past season, as a few of their older players struggled. Long, an extremely well-respected hitting coach throughout baseball, is paying for the underachievement of some established veteran hitters in 2014, including Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann and Mark Teixeira.
Long, who was also well-liked throughout the Yankees organization, was the hitting coach in 2007 when they scored 968 runs, their best output since 1937. The Yankees also led the majors in hits, slugging percentage and had a historically good batting average of .290. Once again, in 2009 the Yankees put up huge numbers under Long’s coaching, leading the league in runs and several more categories.
Long was beloved by his hitters, and earned the respect of many stars, including but not limited to Alex Rodriguez, who swore by Long. Rodriguez is planning to return in 2015 after his year absence. Long is known as an expert in the mechanical aspects of hitting.
The Yankees’ offensive totals fell this season to 20th in baseball, as their older stars slumped. Injuries also played a role, as Teixeira suffered at least a half-dozen different ailments.
Long, 47, coached in the minors for the Royals and Yankees before his ascension to Yankees hitting coach before 2007.