Phillies fire hitting coach

Milt Thompson, left, was fired by the Phillies Thursday night. He was the Phillies hitting coach since 2007. (AP File Photo / Kathy Willens)

After another disappointing offensive showing at Busch Stadium today, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said something had to be done to spark the lineup.

After the team charter landed back in Philadelphia, that something turned out to be firing hitting coach Milt Thompson. He was replaced by Greg Gross, hitting coach at Triple A Lehigh Valley.

The Phillies have been first or second in the National League in scoring the last five years, averaging 837 runs per season. But this year they've scored two or fewer runs in 32 of thie 95 games, so Thompson became the scapegoat.


Was Milt Thompson to blame for the Phillies' offensive struggles?

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. did not return a message, seeking comment.

They are hitting .254 as a team, 13th in the National League and 24th overall. They are coming off a four-game series in St. Louis in which they scored a total of eight runs and have been shut out seven times this season.

Thompson, 51, joined the big league staff in 2003 and took over as hitting coach in 2007. He was the only coach to remain on the staff when Charlie Manuel was hired. 

Gross has been a coach at Triple A for the Phillies for the last three seasons and was the big league hitting coach from 2002 to '04 before he was reassigned to player development in 2005. He spent 10 years as a player with the Phillies, including the World Series in 1980 and '83.