The Phillies are turning to their most successful manager in club history to help save their season.
Charlie Manuel will serve as the team's hitting coach for the remainder of the season, the club announced on Tuesday. He takes over for John Mallee, who was fired on Tuesday.
With 44 games remaining in what so far has been an underwhelming season, the Phillies hope that Manuel can spark an offense that has been wildly inconsistent all season. The Phillies were one-hit and three-hit on their recent 2-5 trip out west and they've struggled mightily with runners in scoring position in recent weeks. Slugger Rhys Hoskins went 2 for 24 on the trip and has just one RBI this month. Hoskins benefitted from Manuel's tutelage on his way up the minor-league ladder.
Manuel, 75, was the Phillies' manager from 2005 until August 2013. He presided over the best stretch in team history — five division titles, two National League pennants and a World Series title from 2007-2011.
Since being replaced as manager in August 2013, Manuel served in a variety of roles with the club. He worked as a scout, a minor-league hitting instructor and most recently an adviser to general manager Matt Klentak.
The Phillies have been contemplating changes to the coaching staff for a couple of weeks, and more changes could come. Manager Gabe Kapler, who is under contract through next season, appears safe, though he will come under review after the season. The Phillies are 140-140 under Kapler, who is in his second season.
The Phillies enter Tuesday night at 60-58 and in fourth place in the NL East. They led the division by three games at the end of May. They are two games out of the second NL wild-card spot.
The Phillies spent over $400 million this offseason on free agents, including $330 million on Bryce Harper, and gave up their top pitching prospect in a trade for catcher J.T. Realmuto. Expectations were huge coming into the season but the results have brought mostly underachievement.
Prior to joining the Phillies organization, Manuel was a decorated hitting coach with the Cleveland Indians before becoming a manager with that club. He inherits a Phillies offense that ranks below the major-league average in runs scored, batting average and OPS.
Since the All-Star break, the offense has been particularly bad. Entering Tuesday, it ranked 27th in runs, 27th in batting average, 26th in OPS, and 28th extra-base hits.
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