Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Larry Bowa back as Ryne Sandberg starts filling coaching staff

Larry Bowa is back, nearly a decade after he was fired as manager.
Pete Mackanin, who was dismissed a year ago, is back.
Steve Henderson is back — but he never left.
Wally Joyner was asked back, but declined.
Rod Nichols and Juan Samuel are in limbo.

Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg named Bowa, a man who influenced his Hall of Fame career significantly when the pair was a double-play combo for the Cubs, his right-hand man as bench coach. Bowa was the Phillies manager for four seasons prior to Charlie Manuel's reign and all but confirmed when he was in Philly last month that he would like to be on Sandberg's staff if and when the interim tag was removed from his job title.

“Put it this way: If I ever did come back, I’m not going away from the East Coast," Bowa said last month. "I just like the style of play around here, I like the atmosphere out here. It’s a different atmosphere. I know the Dodgers are playing good, but I’ve seen them play bad and there’s no one in the stadium. The atmosphere is always good. New York it’s good, Boston it’s good.”

Mackanin's return comes as a slightly bigger surprise, considering he was the bench coach from 2009-12 and was fired a year ago during a shakeup to Manuel's staff. Mackanin will serve as third-base coach.

Henderson returns as hitting coach, but Joyner — whom Dom Brown described as "a gift from God" in spring training, prior to a breakout seasons for the outfielder — declined to return in a shared role as hitting coach with Henderson.

Nichols is said to be on the short list for the pitching coach position made vacant when Rich Dubee's contract was allowed to expire. Nichols was brought up from his developmental position to serve as bullpen coach an last season and has been well respected by homegrown pitchers like
Cole Hamels for years, but there has been a conversation inside the organization to make significant changes to the way the Phillies groom pitchers from top-to-bottom. The Phillies relieved minor-league pitching coordinator Gorman Heimueller of his title in August, and the choice of his successor could play into how the Phillies choose Dubee's replacement.