Sunday, February 7, 2016

Manuel: Hardest decision I ever had to make

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said the decision to replace hitting instructor Milt Thompson late Thursday night was his decision.

Manuel: Hardest decision I ever had to make


Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said the decision to replace hitting instructor Milt Thompson late Thursday night was his decision.

"I got to the point where I look at our hitting and I felt something had to be done," Manuel said. "The only thing I could possibly think of was a change and that it had to be done."

Manuel broke the news to Thompson after the Phillies' charter flight from St. Louis landed.

"I was surprised," Thompson said. "You have to understand, we've been decimated by injuries and our guys were trying too hard."

Manuel said breaking the news to Thompson was extremely difficult because of the success the Phillies have enjoyed with him as their hitting instructor.

"It was the hardest decision I ever had to make," Manuel said. "The guy is a good friend of mine, but at the same time I felt like we had to try something. I think when you see how our at-bats are, we definitely need more focus. We need to go back and start playing baseball the Phillie way. The Phillie way was how we played for three or four years."

Manuel also called a team meeting before Friday night's game against the Colorado Rockies and he relayed a similar message to his players about the change in hitting instructors.

"Almost every hitting coach has the a lot of similarities," Manuel said. "I think (a new voice) can make it fresh, make it new. I hope this will fire us up and get us to improve and get us back to how we can hit the ball."

Though Manuel spent six seasons in Cleveland as a hitting instructor and is known for his ability to teach hitters, he said that is not his primary focus as a manager.

"Whenever I talk to hitters ... Milt was always there," Manuel said. "I'll treat GG (Greg Gross) the same way. If someone on my staff has something to say about hitting I want them to tell our hitting coach. That's his area. I talk to our guys about hitting, but i don't consistently every day. That's my hitting coach's job. It's a tough job and it's a 24-hour-a-day job."

Inquirer Columnist
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