The Philadelphia Phillies have brought back Larry Bowa, this time as the team’s bench coach. As a coach and a player, this is Bowa’s fourth stint with the team. Bowa, who is a close friend of Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg played alongside Sandberg for four seasons in Chicago. Sandberg has chosen Bowa to be his bench coach for 2014, a move that has certainly raised a few eyebrows.
Bowa was the Phillies’ manager from 2001 to 2004, which followed a stint as an assistant coach for the team that lasted from 1989 to 1996. Bowa, who won the Manager of the Year award after coming within two games of the division title in 2001, had a rough next three years, failing to come anywhere close to postseason play, and was fired at the end of the 2004 season.
He also played for the Phillies from 1970 to 1981, and won the 1980 World Series with the team. Bowa has had an up and down relationship with the club since 1981, and this will now be the third time he has been brought in as a member of the coaching staff.
In addition to bringing back Bowa, the Phillies have also reunited with another familiar face – Pete Mackanin. From 2009 to 2012, Mackanin served as the Phillies bench coach under former manager Charlie Manuel. Mackanin was fired at the end of last season, and has now been brought back a season later to fill the same position under Sandberg. While it is a rather unexpected and somewhat inefficient move, Sandberg has coaching spots to fill – including the spot of pitching coach.
Bullpen coach Mick Billmeyer was also let go early this week. The Phillies’ bullpen had been one of the worst in the National League in both 2012 and 2013. He had served as the bullpen coach since the 2009 season.
Catch Part 3 of Phillies 101’s 2013 season in review in the coming days. This will be the final installment of our full analysis of the team this season.
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