Buck Showalter first met Rob Thomson in 1989 while he was managing the double-A Albany-Colonie Yankees in the Eastern League. Thomson was coaching the London Tigers, an affiliate of the Detroit Tigers based in Ontario, Canada. He’d recently finished his playing career, and was only in his second year as a minor league coach, but he caught Showalter’s eye.
So, Showalter went to his superiors in the Yankees organization and recommended Thomson.
“I was really impressed with him,” Showalter said on Friday. “And we got a chance to add him. I remember talking to our people about him; I was really impressed with his work.”
Showalter, who manages the New York Mets, overlapped with Thomson, who is interim manager of the Phillies, in the Yankees organization from 1990-1995. The only time they worked together directly was in spring training one year, when Thomson served as an extra coach, but they have developed a friendship and a mutual respect for each other.
“He’s just solid,” Showalter said of Thomson. “He has no ego. Well, we all have an ego, but it’s always about the players for him. A lot of people they say ‘Oh, he’s really organized,’ which he is, but he’s got great people skills, too. I think the mistake that a lot of coaches and managers make is they forget how hard the game was to play and how bad they were on a given night. But Robbie doesn’t forget that. He’s just very driven, very consistent, doesn’t have a lot of emotional swings back and forth.
“He’s got some toughness about him, trust me. You don’t survive, especially in some of the places he’s been, without toughness. He understands it’s a different gig but I don’t know what else you could do to be prepared for that opportunity. You know, as a competitor in the division, I was hoping they would go in a different direction than Robbie, you know what I’m saying? Robbie is a good hire.”
Unfortunately for Showalter, the Phillies did go with Thomson, which means that they’ll be in opposing dugouts in Citi Field when the Mets and Phllies next play Aug. 12-14.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had somebody say a bad word about him,” Showalter said. “He’s upbeat but also realistic. Everything isn’t good, good all the time. I think he understands that there’s ebbs and flows to the season.
“He knows it’s about the players. The players play better and the manager looks smart.”
Didi Gregorius activated off the injured list
Phillies shortstop Didi Gregorius was reinstated from the 10-day injured on Sunday. Infielder Nick Maton was placed on the 10-day injured list -- retroactive to June 4 -- with a right shoulder sprain.
“Didi was supposed to have the day off today, so we brought him here instead and we’ll give him the day off and he’ll be back out there on Tuesday,” Thomson said on Friday.
Maton will be traveling with the club on their road trip to Milwaukee from Tuesday to Thursday.