The Phillies continue to piece together their 2014 coaching staff, but they still don’t have a pitching coach.
The team announced Thursday that Juan Samuel and Wally Joyner would return to the club as first-base coach and assistant hitting coach, respectively.
Joyner, who served under hitting coach Steve Henderson in 2013, had previously declined an invitation to return to the club because he wanted to pursue the opportunity to be a head hitting coach with other clubs. Joyner’s return to the Phillies comes one day after the Los Angeles Angels hired Don Baylor as their hitting coach. Joyner played seven seasons with the Angels.
Joyner was praised for his work with Domonic Brown in 2013. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. had previously said that Joyner was "overqualified" to be an assistant hitting coach.
Samuel’s status was up in the air for a couple of weeks before the team announced it would retain him. It is believed that the Phillies inquired about Atlanta coach Doug Dascenzo before retaining Samuel. Dascenzo is a former teammate and close friend of manager Ryne Sandberg. The Braves recently promoted Dascenzo from minor-league outfield/baserunning instructor to major-league third-base coach.
The Phils are in the process of interviewing candidates for pitching coach. Rich Dubee was let go after nine seasons at the conclusion of the 2013 season.
Amaro said there was no timetable for hiring a pitching coach.
“We’re still sifting through interviews and possible interviews,” he said. “We’re taking our time on this one because it’s a very important decision.”
Amaro indicated that some potential candidates could be tied up in the pursuit of more significant jobs. Bryan Price would fit that description. He was Cincinnati’s pitching coach in 2013 and is a candidate for that club’s vacant managerial job.
Amaro has declined to name any of his pitching coach candidates, other than Rod Nichols, who was the Phils’ bullpen coach in 2013. The Phils still have not named a bullpen coach for 2014. Nichols could end up back in that role if he is not pitching coach.
“We could make a hire right now -- one or two or three of the people we’ve already interviewed,” Amaro said. “We like what we’ve seen so far. But we’re trying to do our due diligence and see if there are other candidates.”
Earlier this month the Phillies added Larry Bowa (bench coach) and Pete Mackanin (third-base coach) to their staff.
In addition to coaching appointments, the Phillies made four roster moves on Thursday. Outfielders Roger Bernadina and Casper Wells and pitchers J.C. Ramirez and Cesar Jimenez cleared waivers and were outrighted off the 40-man roster.
All four players have the right to elect to become free agents and are expected to do so.