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McGwire returns to SoCal as Dodgers hitting coach

Associated Press Modified: November 7, 2012 at 8:02 pm •  Published: November 7, 2012

"I grew up a Dodger fan," he said.

McGwire is a 12-time All-Star who in winter 2010 ended years of denials and a self-imposed exile from the sport by admitting he took performance-enhancing drugs during his career, including when he broke Roger Maris' record of 61 home runs with 70 long balls in 1998. He retired in 2001 with 583 career homers, ranking 10th on the all-time list.

"It's a mistake that I've made, I've owned up to it, I've moved on," he said. "That's something I have to live with the rest of my life."

There was little public outcry when McGwire returned to the Cardinals as hitting coach, and Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said he can live with McGwire's past.

"He's owned up to making a mistake, but there's so many other great qualities about him that you forgive the mistake," he said. "That he apologized is very important."

McGwire will be working with an accomplished group of hitters on the Dodgers, including All-Stars Kemp, Andre Ethier, Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez.

"I absolutely love the job of being a hitting coach," he said. "I love teaching and being around the game of baseball."

Colletti said he sought McGwire partly after seeing how well-prepared the Cardinals' hitters were, including their ability to make in-game adjustments.

"We kept thinking about guys that had had success both with veteran players and also young players. We kept coming back to Mark," he said. "We benefited from Mark's love of his young family and where he resides. We're very privileged and thrilled to have a person of this quality be our hitting coach."

Colletti said the Dodgers would hire an assistant hitting coach later this week.

McGwire said he has no immediate managerial aspirations.

"But I would never rule it out," he said. "Right now I'm having way too much fun working with the hitters."