Top hitting coach loses job; #Braves should pounce

There’s been a lot of snickering about the “Braves Way,” but, outside of retaining Fredi, John Hart and company should be lauded for the way they’ve restructured the front office. Bringing back superscout Roy Clark was a coup, as was luring highly respected talent evaluator Gordon Blakeley from the Yanks.

They might want to hire another former Yankee to instruct the hitters. Kevin Long, fired Friday because old, oft-injured guys like Beltran and Tex didn’t produce, is widely regarded as one of the top batting coaches in the game. Since taking the job in 2007, Long has presided over an offense that’s scored the second-most runs in baseball.

Mark Bowman reports the Braves have considered former Phils manager Charlie Manuel, the hitting coach on those great Indians’ offenses of the 90s, but worry he’s too old. Manuel disciple Jim Thome was also contracted but he wasn’t interested. Other candidates mentioned include Rick (brother of David) Eckstein, who coached Nats hitters from 2008-13, and ex-Brave Milt Thompson, the Phils’ batting instructor during their heyday in the late aughts.

Of those candidates, only Manuel has a better resume than Long, 47. The ex-Yankee merits an interview, at the very least.



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