PA (Sports Network) - The Philadelphia Phillies, who have struggled at the plate and are seven games behind NL East-leading Atlanta, fired hitting coach Milt Thompson Thursday night. The move came hours after the Phillies earned a 2-0, 11-inning win at St. Louis. Nevertheless, the two-time defending National League champions have posted just four runs over their last three contests.
Greg Gross, who has been serving as a coach for triple-A Lehigh Valley the past three seasons (2008-10), will assume hitting coach duties for the Phillies. The 57-year-old Gross was the Phillies' major league hitting coach from 2002-04 before being reassigned to the player development system in 2005.
As a player, he spent 10 years with the Phillies (1979-88) and played in two World Series with the team (1980, 1983). The Phillies entered Thursday with a .253 batting average, tied for third- worst in the NL. They've been held to one run 23 times this season. In all of 2009, the Phillies were held to one run or none 21 times.
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