Washington Nationals hitting coach Kevin Long has departed the organization to join Joe Girardi’s coaching staff at the Philadelphia Phillies, The Athletic's Britt Ghiroli and Matt Gelb reported.
Long was hired by Washington in November 2017 and a was member of the coaching staff during the 2019 World Series championship run. That year, the Nationals led the NL in on-base percentage during what was one of the best offensive seasons in franchise history.
Though this past season was one to forget for the Nationals, Long helped the team to the fourth-best batting average, fourth-most hits, fourth-fewest strikeouts, and second-best on-base percentage in the Majors. During his tenure in the nation's capital, Long helped players like Juan Soto, Trea Turner, Bryce Harper (who he will reunite with in Philadelphia), and Anthony Rendon blossom into offensive superstars.
In Philadelphia, Long will rejoin manager Joe Girardi, who he worked with while a member of the New York Yankees coaching staff. Long was promoted to Yankees’ hitting coach in 2007, where he would work until 2014. Girardi and Long helped guide the Yankees to the World Series title in 2009.
Girardi and Long’s most recent encounter, though, was not as glamorous. Remember the substance checks that took the league by storm, and caused a ton of controversy, earlier this season?
Max Scherzer sure does. The former Nats ace (who is now vying for another title with the L.A. Dodgers) was irked when he was checked for foreign substances mid-inning during a game vs. Philadelphia in June. Joe Girardi was the one who requested the ill-timed check, to the ire of many fans—and Kevin Long. You can catch it all in this video (skip to about 3:20 to see Long).
Despite a star-studded roster, the Phillies missed the postseason for the tenth consecutive season, even though they finished second in the NL East. Philadelphia is hoping Long’s arrival will help their offense which finished middle-of-the-pack in virtually every hitting category in 2021.