Phillies Fire Thompson, Gross Takes His Place
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.”