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Padres hire Matt Stairs as hitting coach

By Theo DeRosa, Sports Talk Philly staff

The Philadelphia Phillies still have yet to decide on a new manager, and the wait has cost them the services of one of their most skilled assistants.

Hitting coach Matt Stairs has been hired away by the San Diego Padres, FanRag Sports' Robert Murray first reported.

FanRag's Jon Heyman confirmed the report that Stairs will be coaching at pitcher-friendly Petco Park next season.

Stairs, 49, played for the Phillies from 2008 to 2009. He holds the record for most pinch-hit home runs in MLB history with 23 — the most famous of these came in the 2008 NLCS when he "rip(ped) one deep into the night" in Los Angeles to put the Phils up 7-5 against the Dodgers.

Stairs worked in the NBC Sports Philadelphia (then CSN Philly) broadcast booth from 2014 to 2016. After the 2016 season, he was hired as the Phillies' hitting coach.

Especially early in the season, Stairs' methods got results. He seemed to improve the approaches of players like César Hernández and the swings of Aaron Altherr and others. While the Phils' offense was at best middle-of-the-pack in the National League, the team was much more patient at the plate than its 2016 iteration.

But now Stairs will be taking his talents to sunny San Diego, and the Phillies find themselves with another vacancy in a coaching staff full of question marks. It's been the consensus that the team is likely to name a new manager early next week, but it may be long after that by the time Stairs' vacancy is filled. With whom it will be filled will depend on the manager Matt Klentak and company choose to hire.

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