Matt Stairs, author of one of the most important home runs in Phillies history, is their new hitting coach.
The long-time pinch-hitter, who was a Phillies broadcaster the last three seasons, replaces Steve Henderson.
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Although it's difficult for any hitting coach to have a huge impact at the major-league level, Stairs will be tasked with helping turn around what's been a dismal offense the last several years. The Phillies scored 39 fewer runs this season than any team in baseball and finished second-worst in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. They had the fewest extra-base hits in the majors, the second-fewest walks and the seventh-most strikeouts. This team, as presently constructed, has a lot of holes, but that's still an ugly mix.
Stairs is a fan favorite around these parts for his every-man demeanor but most notably for his dramatic, game-winning moonshot home run at Dodger Stadium in Game 4 of the 2008 NLCS.
He made a career out of being a quality pinch-hitter with power and plate discipline, skills this Phillies team lacks.
The Phillies also announced Wednesday that every coach who was extended an invitation to return — bench coach Larry Bowa, pitching coach Bob McLure, base coaches Mickey Morandini and Juan Samuel, bullpen coach Rick Kranitz and catching coach John McLaren — has agreed.