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Phillies hire Charlie Manuel as hitting coach

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Here’s one from out of left field: multiple people covering the Phillies are reporting that the Phillies have installed Charlie Manuel as their hitting coach. John Mallee has been fired.

Manuel, of course, was the Phillies manager for nine seasons, leading them to a World Series title in 2008 and a pennant in 2009. He made his bones in the bigs, however, as a hitting coach, serving in that role for the Cleveland Indians from 1988 to 1989 and again from 1994 to 1999. Manuel’s instruction — and, obviously, some talented hitters — helped the Indians lead the American League in runs three times and set a franchise record in 1999 with 1,009 runs. After that season Manuel took over as the Indians’ manager before moving on to Philly.

Under Mallee, described as an analytically-based hitting coach, the club has disappointed offensively, posting a .738 OPS this season, which ranks 12th in the National League and 22nd in the majors. But really, their offense has been bad by every measure. Through Sunday they ranked in the bottom half of the National League in almost every hitting category: ninth in runs; 10th in hits; 11th in home runs; 10th in on-base percentage; 12th in slugging; 12th in weighted on-base average; and 10th in weighted runs created plus (91).

Manuel, who is 75 years-old, is not analytically based, so the Phillies are definitely going for a change here. It’s also worth noting that his new boss — Gabe Kapler — has been nowhere near as successful as a Phillies manager as Manuel was. Which makes me wonder if the front office isn’t sending a message in addition to making a coaching change.

Carlos Martínez underwent ‘small procedure’ on right shoulder

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Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak confirmed on Sunday, to KMOX/1120 AM and StlToday.com, that pitcher Carlos Martínez underwent a “small procedure” to address discomfort in his right shoulder and encourage healing as well as a platelet-rich plasma injection.

Martínez, 28, began experiencing shoulder issues in 2018 which impacted his ability to pitch deep into games. Upon his return from the injured list in late August that year, the club moved him into the bullpen. He remained in the bullpen for 2019, making his season debut in May, and had a successful year, racking up 24 saves with a 3.17 ERA and a 53/18 K/BB ratio in 48 1/3 innings.

Martínez wants to start again and the Cardinals have said they will afford him the opportunity. He is expected to be on track to participate in spring training as usual.