There was little incentive for a 71-year-old former manager still involved with baseball to consider Baltimore's pleas to become their hitting coach, but Charlie Manuel did just that. He listened to his friends in the Orioles organization. There was no match, and he declined the offer Wednesday, according to The Baltimore Sun.
Manuel, fired as Phillies manager in August 2013, is expected to have a visible presence at spring training with the 2015 Phillies.
"He'll be more involved," Ruben Amaro Jr. said last week. "We'd be dumb not to utilize him."
This is all a part of the general manager's ambiguous plan to alter how the Phillies approach hitting instruction. When asked if there would be new drills and different messages, Amaro said, "All of the above." He refused to offer specific examples.
"We're going to work on some things differently than we have in the past as far as the offense is concerned," Amaro said. "One of the major things that came out of our organization meetings is we've got to start doing things differently throughout the organization offensively.
"It's a little tougher to do with veteran guys, but we hope to have a much younger team that we can influence better. We're going to do things significantly differently, actually."
The Phillies retained hitting coach Steve Henderson and his assistant, John Mizerock. Amaro dodged a question about potential staff changes or additions.
"There will be people more involved," he said. "We're still working through things. We have some good hitting people that will be involved."
Manuel, who turns 71 next month, is one. The team hired him as a senior advisor to the general manager just months after he was fired as manager. He did not attend spring training last season to avoid an awkward situation during Ryne Sandberg's first camp. That was Manuel's choice.
But, once the minor-league season started, Manuel became something of a roving instructor. He worked with some young hitters. (Maikel Franco was one notable pupil.) He did some scouting of the organization's affiliates. He peeked at potential draft picks in college and high school.
He could reprise that role in 2015, but not before more interaction with the big-league roster in spring training.
The Phillies scored 619 runs in 2014 and 610 in the prior season. Their .302 on-base percentage in 2014 was the franchise's worst since 1971.
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