Phillies Fire Thompson, Gross Takes His Place


milt thompson.jpgIn a surprising, but not entirely shocking move, the Phillies fired hitting coach Milt Thompson tonight.

Greg Gross, who served as Larry Bowa‘s hitting coach from 2002-04, will take his place.

“It’s part of the business,” Thompson said tonight in a telephone interview. “I ain’t even mad. If somebody else can get them going and they can get in the playoffs this year that would be great.”

It certainly is fair to ask if Thompson is a scapegoat for the team’s hitting woes. Thompson, who had been the team’s hitting coach since 2005, had worked with some of the strongest offenses in Phillies history. The Phillies finished second in the National League in scoring in 2005, his first season as hitting coach. They finished first in scoring in 2006 and 2007, second in 2008 and first again in 2009.

They have struggled this season, but it certainly has not helped that Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Placido Polanco and Carlos Ruiz have missed significant time because of injuries.

“I did all I could,” Thompson said. “They’re just not responding this year. A lot of injuries and everything. We just couldn’t get it going. I’m not considered the scapegoat. I’m serious. I work hard. I know that I’m good at what I do. I’ll just move on and do it somewhere else.”

Thompson said the Phillies told him they wanted a new voice.

“I can’t get mad at that,” Thompson said. “If they want somebody else in there they think can get these guys going and we’re in the middle of the season and we still have a shot, that’s fine.”

Asked what he thought hurt the Phillies this season, he said, “I think the injury bug really has been a hard thing. I’m not going to be the first one to make excuses, but we’ve had our Opening Day lineup on the field eight times. You miss Jimmy. He’s back for a couple days then he’s gone again. The next thing you know, Polly is out. Now Chase is out. It’s just been one of those years. In order for a team to be successful and have a good year you can’t have a lot of injuries.”

So I asked Thompson how a new voice can change that?

“I can’t explain that,” he said “I can only go by what they told me. They want a new voice. You’ve got to allow them to do that. I’m not upset. I worked hard for the Phillies. I did the best I could.”

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. My Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

26 Comments

Sure. That will fix everything. I suppose, if you can’t make a trade or bring up somebody to actually help, why not pick a scapegoat and fire him? Meanwhile, Ruben skates merrily along.
They’re Major League players. How much does a hitting coach actually do? Oh — why bother to tell us? Just fire him and make it look like you’re doing something. Great job, Rube.

Wasn’t Thompson the hitting coach when they won a WS and a NL championship? I thought so.

I’ll never forget Thompson’s grand slam saving catch in ’93. I’m not sure he’s a scapegoat this season, but something had to be done – a shake up of some form had to be executed and we all know Rube won’t be fired this quickly. Let’s hope this wakes up somebody as they realize they just made a good guy lose his job.

Whether this is the answer or not, he hasn’t done his job and deserves to be fired. I don’t think they’ll start hitting like last year all of a sudden, but it sends a message–do your job or be gone

One thing that Milt is responsible for totally–not teaching players how to adjust to new spots in the line-up. VIc, used to hitting in front of Utley and HOward last year, was not shown how to deal with hitting in front of Ibanez and Ruiz. THe difference between being the “easy out” and the threat is what screwed up his hitting. Then to be made leadoff==which he never seems to do well at….same thing for Werth. THis year he has not threat behind him, he’s not getting as good of pitches and he looks lost. THe Hitting coach has to instruct these idiots on the fine points, not on how to swing the piece of wood!!!

they should have promoted him to general manager. rub should have been let go just for the lee deal. lee proved he could pitch when it came down to crunch time. rub can’t take the crunch.

The team was never good at situational hitting, and it appears that the only one who has improved in that area is Howard. Charlie could be part of the problem because he views himself as kind of a hitting coach and he likes the long ball. Victorino in particular has no clue of how to hit in situations or different spots in the lineup. IMO. the only way Rollins is going to beat his slump is to put him where he is comfortable, at leadoff.
Maybe a new hitting coach with a new voice can help in some of these sitautions, but Charlie is going to have to (1) put them is spots where they can succeeed and (2) stay away from batting practice.

i meant thompson, in case u didn’t get that!!! would be a better GM then ruben amaro. yea i said it.

The last thing the Phillies need now is Junior trying to pull a rabbit out of his hat. The damage has been done by what he has done and by what he has failed to do. I wish him nothing but success in his next career. The sooner he moves on, the better it will be for the Phillies.

“do your job or be gone”? Well, there goes half of the starting lineup. “THe Hitting coach has to instruct these idiots”…those would be the same “idiots” that mostly led the league in offense for 4 years? Yeah, it’s Milt’s fault. I guess Dubee will be packing it up next.

Heck, while you’re at it Rube, you should also fire the training staff, look at all these injuries, must be their fault. If beer sales go down, I suppose you would fire the vendors.

Panic move, pure and simple.

Jimmy, if you read what I said, you’ll notice that I believe the problems are the changes from years past. No strong hitter behind Werth (yes, I’d get rid of Ibanez, but no one else wants him) Victorino batting lower down without strong hitters behind him (Nothing bad against Ruiz, but he’s no Howard). Injuries happen and can’t be expected. However, if the team’s not hitting the hitting coach is to blame, what is he there for, afterall? IF they can’t pitch, it’s the pitching coach’s job. If you trade a cy young pitcher in the offseason only to have to aquire one at the deadline, perhaps the GM needs to fire himself, or the ownership needs to step out and take responsibility. DO your job or be gone!!

Ruben Amaro Jr. lets Cliff Lee get away , Charlie sits the players down one by one to destroy their timing and confidence and Milt Thompson gets fired ! That is absolutely priceless !!

Hey the Frillies won one. Congrats. It does look a little like the rats are scurrying over the gunwhales, though.

Hey billreef, I see that Billy Wagner blew another save tonight. As Phillies phans, we’ve already been there, done that with that dingbat. Watch and learn.

billreef: It’s “gunwale,” you illiterate boob, not gunwhale. If you’re going to insult us, have the courtesy to learn to spell. Nitwit.

I just love the cockiness of billreef and other Braves fans. They want to beat their chests and crow about all of the division titles and the pennants the Braves have won over the last 20 years. Little is mentioned of the Braves abysmal WS record during that time. 1 for 5 I believe. While the Phillies may not have appeared in their last 5 WS in as condensed a period of time as the Braves, the fact remains they are 2 for 5.

The thing that kills me about Charlie: He puts Gload in RF and Werth in CF on Friday night to spell Victrino. Then, puts Shane back in CF, and moves Werth to RF (taking out Gload) with a big lead.
On Saturday, he puts Dobbs at 3B and, with an even bigger lead, puts Ransom at 3B.
If you’re going to give a guy the day off, give him the day off. What’s the point of a defensive replacement with a big lead? They had big leads. Let the guys who started the game finish it. If you’re trying to give players a day off, let them take the WHOLE day off.

The thing that kills me about Charlie: He puts Gload in RF and Werth in CF on Friday night to spell Victorino. Then, puts Shane back in CF, and moves Werth to RF (taking out Gload) with a big lead.
On Saturday, he puts Dobbs at 3B and, with an even bigger lead, puts Ransom at 3B late in the game.
If you’re going to give a guy the day off, give him the day off. What’s the point of a defensive replacement with a big lead? They had big leads. Let the guys who started the game finish it. If you’re trying to give players a day off, let them take the WHOLE day off.

Here’s a theory, based soley on Charlei’s words and a feeling. Charlie said to Todd: “I asked him, was he [ticked] off?” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “He said, ‘Yeah a little bit.’ I said, ‘That’s good then.’ I said that not being smart, I just wanted to see how he’d react to [going down].”

Could they have sent Kendrick down, knowing they were going to recall him to pitch, in order to a) piss him off and get him in a different mind set (I still have to prove I belong) while b) allowing them to bring up an extra RP (carpenter, Worley) both of whom were showcased as we enter the deadline…

Or are Rube and CHarlie are just not smart enough to play these kind of games?

Forgot to mention that this ties in with Rube’s “innocent” comment about knowing what they were going to do but not willing to tell anyone from a few days ago. I also wouldn’t have told KK that he was being sent down to be brought up to hopefully make him mad and pitch better…..damn, though, it worked…

Great game by Kyle Kendrick. Now all the Phillies have to do is allow him to pitch. The Phillies need to start treating Kendrick the same way they have been treating Moyer all of his years with the Phillies. He isn’t going to do any worse than Moyer.

Great game by Kyle Kendrick. Now all the Phillies have to do is allow him to pitch. The Phillies need to start treating Kendrick the same way they have been treating Moyer all of his years with the Phillies. He isn’t going to do any worse than Moyer.

Phillies need to bring Bowa back…as third base coach! I know it won’t happen, but the Phillies have not had a good third base coach in years. Perlazzo has no guts…he takes zero chances. By holding so many runners at third, he prevents the batter from moving to second on the throw home. Get some guts Sam!

You’re talking about Ibanez earlier today, I assume? You can’t make the first out at home on a ball hit to CF where the outfielder was charging and was shallow. In hindsight, the throw was wide, but you can’t know that. There’s a difference between guts and being aggressive. Holding Ibanez was the right call with nobody out. Not being able to drive him in is on the hitters, not Perlozzo. (and not “Perlazzo.” Spell it right if you’re going to be critical. Why is this so difficult?

f-i-j, sending Kendrick down was not part of any headgame. They sent him down and Moyer got hurt the next day, necessitating his return.
The think I’ve noticed this week, besides the runs scored, is that the Phillies are tightening up their play. They are playing better defense and running the bases better, and letting the opposition make the costly mistakes. This is more like the the 2008-09 Phillies.

Sam Perlozzo is an excellent third-base coach. Sam knows the outfielders with bullets for arms, and sending a runner home to score is suicide if one of those outfielders catches a fly ball. Being aggressive (as one fan called it) is also being stupid if the runner is out at homeplate. Davey Lopes “times” his runners so he knows how long it takes them to steal a bag, and Perlozzo basically does the same thing from third base.

I think its time to get rid of Lidge or the manager how many times did he put in Lidge when the pitcher that was in was doing great.
Stupid,Stupid.Stupid.
Try Lidge as a starter looks like he needs a inning to get started.
He sure is not a closer anymore.
Not for the Phillies anyway.

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