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.

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 Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.