Mets release Valverde, fire hitting coach

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Updated: 5/26 6:38 pm

Flushing, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - The New York Mets released former All-Star closer Jose Valverde on Monday after he coughed up the lead in a loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Valverde (1-1) entered with two outs in the eighth inning and the Mets holding a 2-1 lead. He was charged with four runs while getting just two outs.

The Mets lost 5-3, falling to 3-9 in their last 12.

They fired hitting coach Dave Hudgens after the game and named Lamar Johnson to the position. Hudgens was in his fourth season as hitting coach; Johnson was promoted from his position as minor league hitting coordinator.

Valverde, 36, once averaged 38 saves per year over six seasons for Arizona, Houston and Detroit from 2007-12.

He was released by the Tigers last August and signed by the Mets to a minor league deal in February. He earned a spot on the big-league roster after spring training.

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