Philadelphia Baseball Review - Phillies News, Rumors and Analysis
Phillies hire Kevin Long as hitting coach

The Phillies introduced hitting coach Kevin Long on Wednesday, the first step in multiple moves likely to happen this offseason to rebuild an offense that struggled this past season under second-year hitting coach Joe Dillon. 

Long, 54, had spent the past four seasons in Washington as hitting coach. Before that, he spent three years as a hitting coach with the Mets and eight years in that role with the Yankees. He worked under Phillies skipper Joe Girardi for seven years (2008-14) when they were with the Yankees and won the World Series in 2009. 

"Seeing how great he was all those years in New York and watching him help develop hitters," Girardi said. "One thing I have always had in the back of my mind is how great he was at recognizing hitters' mechanics and when they got a little bit off, he would make the right adjustment with them.
"I've always thought that's one of the most important things for a hitting coach. When a guy gets out of whack, how quickly do you pick it up? Kevin was fantastic at it. I truly believe he is the best in the business and will have a huge impact on our offense." 

In addition to working with Girardi, Long also has a strong relationship with Bryce Harper stemming from his time in Washington. 

"We talked on the phone," Long said. "I told him he was going to have a familiar hitting coach and he said, 'I just got goosebumps.' I said, 'Good. Me, too.' 

"We're excited to be reunited. Any time you lose a staff member, and he lost Joe Dillon, and you can get someone you're familiar with and trust in, it's a big deal. He was obviously disappointed that Joe was let go, but he understands it's a business. To come and get me as Joe and Dave [Dombrowski] did, I think it's going to work out real well for all of us."

Dillon had served as Long's assistant in Washington before coming to Philadelphia. He was fired by the Phillies before the final game of the season once the club fell out of contention in the NL East. 

On the surface, it seems odd to fire someone and hire their mentor in the same position, but Girardi sees it differently. 

"I'm a big college football fan," Girardi said. "There are a lot of protégés of Nick Saban's that have never beaten him. It just happened for the first time. So that's the way I would describe it. There are a lot of protégés, but there's one Nick Saban. There's one Kevin Long." 

Girardi and Long had a memorable altercation in June after Girardi asked an umpire to check Nats hurler Max Scherzer for a foreign substance. Long took issue with Girardi's request, and the two exchanged choice words across the diamond. They've since laughed about the exchange. 

"Two guys who like to compete and get after it," Long said. "He was the big brother and I was the little brother. We had a quarrel. At the end of the day, we're family and we've always been family. Move on."

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Philadelphia Baseball Review - Phillies News, Rumors and Analysis