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Mets name Natera as assistant to Hudgens

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The Mets on Monday joined the growing ranks of big league teams employing assistant hitting coaches, naming Luis Natera to that position under fourth-year hitting coach Dave Hudgens.

Natera, who spent the past seven years as the hitting coach at Double-A Binghamton, is in his 24th season in the Mets' organization. He has served as a hitting coach at every level of the organization -- from Rookie ball to Triple-A -- and has also worked as the coordinator of the Mets' Dominican Academy and managed their Dominican Summer League team.

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Mets manager Terry Collins said that with almost every big league ballpark now boasting an indoor batting cage, he wanted a coach available to tutor hitters during games, when Hudgens is busy on the bench.

"With all that action going on in there, I thought it was important to have someone who can actually perhaps get somebody better prepared to come into a game to hit," Collins said. "If there's things that guys are working on -- there are guys that even during a game will have an at-bat and the next inning will go into the cage, take some swings, and we need somebody in there to help them."

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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