If there are any hard feelings between Milt Thompson and the Phillies over his recent firing as the club's hitting coach, the veteran baseball man was not letting on.
"I have nothing but praise for the Phillies and the organization," said Thompson, who was fired late Thursday night with the team mired in a lengthy offensive slump. "I've enjoyed it as a player and as a coach. They've treated me well... I'll be there alumni weekend."
The Phillies, who announced the move in a brief press release Thursday night, have not commented publicly on the move.
Thompson said he thinks the biggest problem with the Phillies offense is that the line-up has spent most of the season trying too hard to make up for the absences of key players like Jimmy Rollins, Placido Polanco and Chase Utley. Since Utley went down with a thumb injury in late June, the club is hitting just .233. In the 21 games immediately preceding the injury, they hit .263.
"I think they were just trying too hard to make up for the losses in the line-up," said Thompson.
Thompson said he is good friends with Greg Gross, a former Phillies teammate who will take over as hitting coach.
"I just wish the best for them. I hope GG comes in and gets them going," Thompson said. "He's a good friend and a great baseball man, and I wish him the best. If he can find a way to get these guys to relax throughout all of this, that'd be great."
Thompson said he is confident that he will find another job in the sport.
"I'm a baseball man for life," said Thompson, who lives in South Jersey. "I'm going to land on my feet. Take a little time off, relax -- I've been doing it for a long time -- and then put the resume together and go try to find antoher job."
Thompson was named the hitting coach in 2005, Charlie Manuel's first season as manager. The Phillies finished first in the National League in runs three times during his tenure and finished in the top three in the other three. Currently, they are sixth.