The Phillies have hired former major leaguer Wally Joyner as assistant hitting coach. He will work under Steve Henderson, who was hired to replace Greg Gross as hitting coach earlier this month.
Joyner, 50, hit .289 with 204 home runs and 1,106 RBIs during a 16-year major league career that ended in 2001. He served as the San Diego Padres' hitting coach for parts of the 2007 and 2008 seasons. He has spent the last four seasons serving as a hitting coach in MLB’s international program.
This is the first time the Phillies have had an assistant hitting coach. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said he and manager Charlie Manuel wanted to add more resources for hitters to gather information from.
“Wally brings a combination of credibility and experience,” Amaro said. “Charlie, Steve and I liked the things he had to say when we interviewed him and we liked the way he expressed himself. Steve and Charlie felt like he was the right fit.”
Henderson was the Phillies’ minor-league hitting coordinator the last three seasons. He was a .280 hitter in 12 seasons in the majors. He was the hitting coach for the Tampa Bay Rays from 2006-2009.
Teams such as the St. Louis Cardinals have employed a second hitting coach with success in recent seasons.
“I’m not sure if it’s necessary,” Amaro said of the position. “We’re just trying to improve. I didn’t feel like we were improving as we would have liked. In this day and age, the hitting coach is a thankless job. It’s one of the toughest in baseball. Different hitters process information in different ways so it might be helpful to have a second voice.”
As assistant hitting coach, Joyner will not be in the dugout for games. He will do his work before games and in the batting cage and video room during games.
Interestingly, Joyner attended Redan High School near Atlanta. That’s the same high school that Phillies outfielder Domonic Brown attended. Joyner played his college ball at Brigham Young.
Joyner finished second to Jose Canseco in the 1986 American League rookie of the year voting. He and Amaro were former teammates with the California Angels.
Source: Jim Salisbury
Joyner made news in 2005 when he told ESPN The Magazine that he briefly used steroids late in his career. In the story, Joyner said he took three pills then flushed the rest down the toilet. Joyner said he made the admission to set the record straight for his children. He was listed in former senator George Mitchell’s 2007 report on steroids in baseball.
“We have no issues with that,” Amaro said of Joyner’s link to steroids.
In other coaching matters, Amaro said that Juan Samuel has officially accepted the first-base coaching position after spending the last two years at third base. Ryne Sandberg will coach third base in 2013.