PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — Charlie Manuel will be back in the Philadelphia Phillies dugout. In a shocking move, the Phillies announced the former World Series-winning manager is the team’s new hitting coach after firing John Mallee.
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) August 13, 2019
Their offense has underperformed despite the addition of slugger Bryce Harper, All-Star J.T. Realmuto, two-time All-Star Jean Segura and former 2013 MVP Andrew McCutchen, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in June. It reached a boiling point in the four-game series against the San Francisco Giants as the Phillies were one-hit.
Ladies and Gentlemen it’s Hittin’ Season again! pic.twitter.com/ux1X1Ok5qk
— Pat Gallen (@PatGallenCBS3) August 13, 2019
Heading into Tuesday night’s game against the Chicago Cubs, the Phillies are 19th in runs, 24th in batting average (.245) and 23rd in home runs (149).
The Phillies are currently in fourth place in the National League East — nine games behind the first-place Atlanta Braves. The team is also two games out of the final Wild Card spot.
General manager Matt Klentak says Manuel will be hitting coach for the remainder of the season, but it won’t likely extend beyond 2019.
“This is very much a short-term assignment,” Klentak said.
Klentak says that results matter when you have playoff aspirations and that it made sense to try something different.
“In my judgement, with 44 games remaining, it makes sense for us to try something different rather than continuing to do the same thing we’ve been doing and we’re very fortunate we have Charlie Manuel as a colleague here and who is willing to step in at this time, is excited to do it, feels he can help,” Klentak said, adding that “we are not buried and we are not out.”
Klentak added Manuel will have autonomy as hitting coach.
Manuel won’t be in the dugout tonight as he’s traveling but will be at Wednesday’s game.
Former MVP and World Series champ Ryan Howard says it’s “awesome” seeing Manuel back in a Phillies uniform.
“The man knows hitting,” Howard tweeted.
— Ryan Howard (@ryanhoward) August 13, 2019
Manuel led the Phillies to five straight division titles, two NL pennants and the franchise’s second World Series championship, in 2008.
His 780 wins as Philadelphia’s manager are the most in team history. He was 1,000-826 in nine seasons as manager of the Phillies and three seasons managing the Cleveland Indians.
The 75-year-old Manuel previously served as hitting coach for the Indians from 1988-89 and 1994-99.
Manuel was currently serving as senior adviser to the general manager.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)