For the second time this offseason, Wally Joyner changed his mind. He will not reprise his job as the Phillies assistant hitting coach; he left the team to become the Detroit Tigers hitting coach Sunday.
Joyner declined the Phillies' initial overture on Oct. 8 to return in his same role, and general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. labeled him "overqualified" for the assistant job. But Joyner returned Oct. 17 after his search for a lead hitting coach job failed.
The Phillies announced Sunday that Joyner left to "pursue other opportunities." Hours later, reports surfaced that Detroit hired him. Mick Billmeyer, a longtime Phillies coach fired earlier in the offseason, will be the Tigers' bullpen coach.
Phillies hitters lauded Joyner's influence last season, although the overall results were suspect. Domonic Brown, specifically, credited Joyner for his improved power stroke. The two formed a strong bond.
With Joyner's departure, the Phillies have two openings on their coaching staff. They recently interviewed Mariners pitching coach Carl Willis, according to the Seattle Times, for their vacant pitching coach job. Willis, who has extensive experience in that role, could be the favorite if Seattle does not retain him. Their new manager, Lloyd McClendon, has yet to decide Willis' fate.
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