The Phillies did not have to wait long or go far for their new hitting coach.
Kevin Long, most recently hitting coach of the NL East rival Washington Nationals, is set to join the Phillies in that role, according to multiple sources who confirmed an initial report by The Athletic.
The Phillies have yet to finalize and announce Long's hiring. Once complete, he will rejoin manager Joe Girardi. Long was hitting coach with the New York Yankees from 2007 to 2014. Girardi managed that club from 2008 to 2017. The pair was together when the Yankees beat the Phillies in the 2009 World Series.
Long, 54, was hitting coach with the Nationals from 2018 through the 2021 season. His contract with Washington had run out but the Nats had not ruled out bringing him back.
In Philadelphia, Long will be reunited with Bryce Harper, who spent the first seven years of his career with Washington.
Long was also hitting coach of the New York Mets from 2015 to 2017. He will replace Joe Dillon, who was fired after two seasons with the Phillies. Ironically, Dillon had been the Nationals' assistant hitting coach under Long.
With the Nationals, Long was a frequent visitor to Citizens Bank Park. Back on June 21, he and Girardi exchanged angry words after the Phillies skipper asked umpires to check Washington pitcher Max Scherzer for illegal substances that could be used to doctor the baseball. Scherzer checked out clean.
The next day, Washington general manager Mike Rizzo ripped Girardi in a radio interview. Phillies GM Dave Dombrowski defended Girardi's actions and the situation blew over.
Long might not be the only reunion on the Phillies' coaching staff. According to sources, the Phillies have also had conversations with Bobby Dickerson about returning to the staff as infield coach.
Dickerson coached Phillies infielders in 2019 before moving to San Diego, where he served as Padres' bench coach in 2021. Though he remains under contract with the Padres for 2022, Dickerson and the rest of the Padres coaches were given permission to look for other jobs after manager Jayce Tingler was fired last week.
The Phillies are looking for an infield coach after firing Juan Castro on the final day of the 2021 season.