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Phillies considering reunion with Matt Stairs at hitting coach

It’s possible that the author of the most iconic home run in Philadelphia Phillies history could return to the team’s coaching staff in 2020.

According to Matt Breen of The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Phillies interviewed 2008 World Series Champion Matt Stairs for their hitting coach vacancy last week.

Stairs’ pinch-hit home run in the top of the eighth inning of Game 4 of the 2008 NLCS is one of the most memorable moments in franchise history. Though he only spent parts of two seasons with the Phillies as a player, Stairs became a fan-favorite. He also hit what turned out to be the final home run of Harry Kalas’ illustrious broadcasting career in April of 2009.

In 2014, Stairs returned to Philadelphia, as part of NBC Sports Philadelphia‘s game coverage. Stairs served as a color commentator on Phillies telecasts from 2014-2016.

Stairs was named the Phillies hitting coach ahead of the 2017 season. During his lone season as the Phillies hitting coach, Stairs seemed to get the most out of Aaron Altherr, who has yet to re-discover the form that allowed him to hit 19 home runs and drive in 65 runs in 372 at-bats.

Matt Stairs served as the Phillies hitting coach in 2017. (Brandon Apter/Phillies Nation)

At the conclusion of the 2017 season, the Phillies elected not to retain manager Pete Mackanin in that role, and ultimately his successor, Gabe Kapler, went in another direction at hitting coach, hiring John Mallee.

Stairs was the hitting coach on Andy Green’s staff in San Diego in 2018, but was ultimately fired after just one season. The Padres finished with just the 27th best offense in baseball in 2018, though when you consider Hunter Renfroe was their most productive offensive player, it may have been unfair to blame Stairs for that.

In addition to Stairs, Breen confirmed that the Phillies plan to interview Washington Nationals assistant hitting coach Joe Dillon, which Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reported last week. Breen also says Chili Davis, who was the New York Mets hitting coach in 2019, is also a candidate. Davis, a former major league outfielder, has previously been the hitting coach for the Oakland Athletics, Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs.

Hitting coach is the final vacancy that needs to be filled on manager Joe Girardi’s staff.

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