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Category Archives: Greg Gross

Phillies Coaching Shuffle: Ryne Sandberg to Coach Third Base

Former IronPigs manager Ryne Sandberg (Yong Kim/Inquirer Staff)

PHILADELPHIA — Yesterday, the Phillies fired first base coach Sam Perlozzo as well as cut ties with hitting coach Greg Gross and bench coach Pete Mackanin.

With those spots vacated it left room for a certain minor league manager to get his first real crack at Major League coaching.

Hall of Fame second baseman and former IronPigs manager Ryne Sandberg will coach third base. Last year’s third base coach Juan Samuel will move to first base.

Sandberg will also become the infield instructor, which was Perlozzo’s job.

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Phillies Also Let Go of Mackanin, Gross

Less than two hours after the Phillies 2012 season ended they fired three coaches.

Shortly after it was announced first base coach Sam Perlozzo will not return to the Phillies in 2013, the Phillies announced they have cut ties with bench coach Pete Mackanin and hitting coach Greg Gross.

With three coaching spots vacant right now it should be easy to believe Lehigh Valley manager Ryne Sandberg could be a candidate for any of the three spots.

Phils keep coaching staff intact

According to Todd Zolecki, the Phillies six coaches have agreed to contracts for 2012.

That means the Phils will continue with hitting coach Greg Gross despite another end to the season that saw the Phils finish with the best regular season record but an early playoff exit.

“I couldn’t be happier to have the whole staff back for another season,” Manuel said in a statement. “Their dedication and work ethic speak for themselves and they were a huge part of our 102 wins.”

The list includes: Rich Dubee (pitching), Gross (hitting), Pete Mackanin (bench), Sam Perlozzo (first base), Juan Samuel (third base), Mick Billmeyer (bullpen) and bullpen catcher Jesus Tiamo.

The aftermath: Phils news Oct. 11, 2011

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Earlier today, Shane Victorino, Jimmy Rollins and Ruben Amaro Jr. all held press conferences starting at 11:30.

Tomorrow, Charlie Manuel will address the media to answer more questions on a struggling offense among other things that went wrong last week in the Phils NLDS exit to the Cardinals in five games.

Along with the press conferences, a series of other small updates occurred today.

-You can read about Rollins’ presser and some Amaro comments here.

-Victorino discussed disappointment in his press conference. He also talked about the Phils offense and how he knows that Manuel won’t want to change anything about their approach to hitting.

-Amaro’s comments can be read on CSN Philly. To summarize, he challenged Manuel and hitting coach Greg Gross to do a better job with the offense. He also didn’t go into any detail on negotiations – nothing unusual – with Rollins, starting pitcher Cole Hamles and closer Ryan Madson. He did express that he would like to have all three back.

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Phillies beat Jays in Doc’s debut

It was the spring debut game of ace #2 for the Phils. After Hamels very strong effort on Saturday, Roy Halladay made his spring debut against his former team in the Phillies 6-3 win today.

Phils starter Roy Halladay makes his spring debut against his former team, the Blue Jays, on Monday. Doc pitched two scoreless innings in the Phils 6-3 win. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette)

Doc went two innings, allowing a couple hits and a walk while striking out one. Placido Polanco had a pair of hits and two RBIs and Carlos Ruiz hit a two-run double, falling short of a grand slam in the second inning.

Ben Francisco continue his torrid spring, going 1-for-2 with walk, RBI and run. He’s batting .571 so far as he is hoping to gain the lion’s share of right field this season.

Matt Gelb was reporting on former first round pick Matt Anderson earlier on Twitter. Anderson made his spring debut, hitting 95 MPH on the radar gun, a very surprising number. He pitched a clean eighth inning, striking out one.

J.C. Ramirez was also impressive, hitting 94-95 MPH on the gun. He pitched the third and fourth, allowing a hit and walk while striking out four. Ramirez, who was a part of the first Cliff Lee deal, is turning into the most major league-ready prospect in that deal.

David Hale tweeted a great quote from Halladay, who commented on his early career history at Dunedin, where the Blue Jays play their Spring Training games:

“I got sent down four times in that office, the last time was to A-ball. So I’ll be glad to get out of here.”

In a little debate with Kyle Scott of Crossing Broad and Justin Evans of Red pinstripes, we discussed Domonic Brown’s early issues in the Grapefruit League, where he is 0-for-9 with six strike outs and two walks in three games. Charlie Manuel said that Brown is over swinging, therefor causing him to pull out.

It’s too early to get worried over Brown, who is 2-for-39 (stat from Scott) in winter ball and GFL play. He’s still adjusting to the new mechanics taught by Greg Gross and with Manuel most likely stepping in, I’m sure Brown will be fixed once he gets into a rhythm of doing things the right way.


Brown’s new swing: smooth

Thank you to Official Review and Red Pinstripes for uncovering and posting this gem.

As I posted a while back, hitting coach Greg Gross said he feels he fixed the stance and swing of left-handed hitting rookie Domonic Brown. Well here is a video to prove him right and I can honestly say I’m satisfied with the results.

Brown’s hands are much lower and he throws his hips into the ball like another left-handed hitting slugger on the Phils. Hopefully the new hand position will minimize strike outs and allow him to get good contact on his swings.

Speaking of Official Review, I’d like to introduce a new shirt to the TTB Shop. Thank you to those guys for help on the design.

Gross Thinks New Stance Will Solve Brown

The follow-through of Brown from this past season. (David M. Warren/Philly Inquirer)

It’s been about six years since the last time Phillies fans have been buzzing over a prospect. First baseman Ryan Howard, 26 at the time, was that player.

Now the fans have a new left-handed hitting slugger to look forward to lighting up the score board in Citizens Bank Park. Domonic Brown made his debut last season, ripping a double off the top of the right centerfield fence in his first at-bat.

Since that double, Brown struggled immensely at the plate, batting .210 (13-68) last season. But hitting coach Greg Gross, who got the promotion in July, told the Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Dave Murphy that he has corrected the problem in Brown’s approach.

The big swing Brown takes was not the problem. Instead, it was the placement of his hands while standing in the batter’s box.

This picture was from 2009. Notice where Brown's hands are.

It was the first thing I ever noticed about Brown’s swing. I had the same problems in high school with holding my hands too high. By doing so, Brown loses something off his swing, not allowing him to make solid contact.

Here are Gross’ words on how he worked with Brown’s swing:

“The good part about it is it didn’t have anything to do with his swing,” Gross said. “It was just the position he was in to get started – and that wasn’t that bad, either. It was just the timing of when he got to the place where he was ready to swing. Then [his hands] would drop even more and he’d be late….

“He just didn’t feel the same as he did before,” Gross said. “I think he was just trying to find a comfort zone when he was sitting on the bench 2 or 3 days at a time.”

Ah, a comfort zone. The exact same thing I have noticed many times with Howard and his stance. Howard is known to either crouch too low or stand up too high during his slumps. When he does that, he either tops the ball, pops up or completely misses good pitches. Now this doesn’t fully affect his poor decision making at the plate with taking balls and strikes – that’s a completely different story – but it does explain when he struggles.

I will be very interested to see how Gross’ work will impact Brown’s swing. And if has a huge impact on him then I would hate to see Brown fall back into the bad habit.

It’s hard changing your style of play at this point. Luckily Brown is young enough that the clay is still moldable.

Pair of Bad News Follows Win

(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

So what do you guys want to hear first? The bad or the bad? Well the first bad news comes from the trainers office. Jamie Moyer’s arm is all sorts of messed up. The 47-year-old was diagnosed with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament and a strained flexor pronator muscle. Basically it sounds like it’s more severe than the elbow problem J.A. Happ suffered earlier this season.

Kyle Kendrick and J.A. Happ are both back up with the Phillies and will pitch Saturday and Sunday respectively. It would appear that Moyer being put on the DL and Vance Worley being sent down would be the two players to go with the additions of Kendrick and Happ. The roster moves won’t come until Saturday.

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

The second piece of bad news is the Phillies firing fan favorite and member of the 1993 Phillies, Milt Thompson. They promoted Greg Gross to the hitting coaches job. Gross was the coach from 2002-2004 before being assigned to player development in the minors. Gross was also a former a Phillies and player on two World Series teams, winning in 1980 and losing in 1983.

This is a BS move as basically Thompson took the bullet for the offense struggles all season. Reading a few tweets on this, I’m not alone in my opinion that you can’t blame Thompson for the injuries, some of Charlie Manuel’s bench moves, and the slumps to Jayson Werth and Jimmy Rollins (post injury). Also look at Ryan Howard’s improved batting average and ability to take better cuts. Gotta give credit where it’s due I think Thompson deserves a lot of it.

But folks, the good news is  you can save a ton of money on car insurance when switching to Geico! I’m sure Caveman Werth is thrilled.