Maybe Larry Bowa is the Phillies' Billy Martin. Much like the fiery Yankees manager, who was hired and fired ad nauseum, Bowa will return as the bench coach under manager Ryne Sandberg. This is his fourth run as a Phillie.
When Bowa was asked by Metro in August about returning as a coach, the former Phillies manager claimed he was content in his current role as a MLB analyst.
"I love what I do," Bowa said. "I've enjoyed analysis more than I ever thought I would."
Bowa, 67, apparently missed putting on the uniform. This is his second time coaching the Phillies. He was in the third-base box for nine years (1988-1996) sporting red pinstripes. Bowa managed the Phillies from 2001-2004.
Of course, the slick-fielding shortstop was with the Phillies for 12 seasons (1970 to 1981), until he was traded to the Cubs for Ivan DeJesus. The throw-in to Chicago was Sandberg.
Bowa will be reunited with Jimmy Rollins, a player he managed before being replaced by Charlie Manuel.
"Jimmy is my favorite player," Bowa said. "I feel like I'm his dad... He really turned into a great shortstop. Just look at all that he accomplished with the Phillies."
Another coach is returning to Philadelphia, too. Pete Mackanin, who Charlie Manuel's bench coach (2009-2012), will coach third base. Machanin, 62, served as a New York Yankees scout last season.
The status of bullpen coach Rod Nichols and first-base coach Juan Samuel are up in the air. Nichols, 48, finished his first season as Phillies coach and Samuel, 52, has been a coach with the club for the last three seasons
"Bringing Bowa back will be good for the Phillies," a NL scout said. "He's a great baseball guy and the fans in Philadelphia love him."
During the August chat with Bowa, he couldn't even mention Manuel by name when asked about the most successful manager in Phillies history. Bowa just called him "the manager."
Bowa went out of his way to praise the Phillies' organization when detailing how much he loved coming back from alumni weekend, which honored the pennant-winning 1993 club.
"The Phillies do a great job putting that [reunion] together," Bowa said. "They reach out to the guys who played for the franchise and they treat them right. I had the greatest time when we all came back for the '93 team. I love what the Phillies are about. I'm glad they asked me to come back for the weekend."
Bowa kept his Delaware Valley house, which has been home base for him since his playing days.
"I never moved away," Bowa said. "I'm still in the area. I love it there."
Bowa believes the Philles can turn it around.
"I think they can come back," Bowa said. "They first thing they have to do is fix the bullpen. You fix hat You have some great starting pitching. Add some power and they certainly could be back next year. There is hope."
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