Phillies fire their hitting coach

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The Phillies have fired hitting coach Steve Henderson. He had served in that capacity since 2012.

Henderson’s hitters finished last in the major leagues in runs scored in 2016 and ranked 29th in batting average (.240), on-base percentage (.301) and slugging percentage (.385). He is the only Phillies coach to be axed, as the remaining staff — bench coach Larry Bowa, bullpen coach Rick Kranitz, pitching coach Bob McClure, catching coach John McLaren and base coaches Mickey Morandini and Juan Samuel were asked to return.

Tough break for Henderson as it wasn’t his idea to stock the roster with a bunch of guys who can’t hit. But he knows, as everyone knows, that hitting coaches are hired to be fired in exactly such situations.

Report: Guardians, 1B Josh Bell reach 2-year, $33M deal

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SAN DIEGO — The Cleveland Guardians and slugging first baseman Josh Bell have agreed to a two-year, $33 million contract, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal was pending a review of medical records.

Bell played for Washington and San Diego last season, batting .266 with 17 homers and 71 RBIs in 156 games.

Cleveland is coming off a surprising 2022 season, going 92-70 and winning the AL Central for the first time since 2018. The addition of Bell gives the Guardians more power for their lineup after they hit just 127 homers this year – the second-lowest total in the majors.

The 30-year-old Bell is a .262 hitter with 130 homers and 468 RBIs over seven seasons with three big league teams. He had his best year with Pittsburgh in 2019, making the NL All-Star team while batting .277 with 37 homers and 116 RBIs in 143 games.

The switch-hitting Bell also is expected to benefit from restrictions on defensive positioning coming to the game next year.