"I talk to our guys about hitting, but I don't consistently every day," Manuel said. "That's my hitting coach's job. That's his position. That's what he is supposed to do. It's a tough job. It's a 24-hour-a-day job."
Manuel said replacing Thompson with Gross was "the hardest decision I ever had to make" because of the success the team has enjoyed. The Phillies were first or second in runs scored in each of Thompson's first five seasons as the Phillies' hitting instructor.
They rank sixth in that department in the National League.
"I'm sure it wasn't an easy decision at all," Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins said. "A couple World Series, division titles, and National League titles, then this year was very uncharacteristic as far as the offense was concerned."
Thompson said by phone that he was surprised when Manuel informed him of his decision.
"You have to understand that we have been decimated by injuries," Thompson said. "Our guys have been trying too hard. I'm not trying to make excuses. We had some successful teams, but every year is not going to be a great year. If you look at our successful years, we did not have a lot of injuries."
Thompson said he has no ill feelings toward Manuel or the Phillies.
"They said they needed a new voice," Thompson said. "I have to respect that. I'm sure I'm going to have a job in baseball next season. I had a great ride here. I had a chance to go to the World Series as a player and a coach and this group of guys has been tremendous."
Gross was not available to the media before the game.
Rollins and third baseman Placido Polanco are the only remaining players around from Gross' last run as the Phillies' hitting instructor, which ended in 2004 when Larry Bowa was fired as manager. The Phillies' shortstop is among the team's slumping hitters, but he does not know if Gross can turn things around.
"I haven't been around GG in a long time," Rollins said. "We'll have to see. He told me it feels weird. That's all he said to me."
Manuel is hoping a new voice can bring different results.
"The philosophies are all very close," Manuel said. "Almost every hitting guy has a lot of similarities. I think this is just something to make it fresh, make it new. I hope this will fire us up and get us to improve and back to how we can hit the ball."
Rollins said even though Thompson lost his job, the results are ultimately up to the hitters.
"It's completely on us," he said. "He never hit for us, he never struck out for us, but he's the guy who is responsible for us as hitters, so if the hitters aren't doing their job . . . it's going to end up costing him his job.
"I did a lot of flips with Milt. That's all I required. You don't ask a lot from the hitting instructor. Maybe some guys do. They need to hear this and that, but we're our own best hitting instructor. You know what you are and what you need to do. The hitting coach will watch and maybe pick out something that you're not doing and try to find a way to get you back there. That's all I ever asked and we had a lot of success together."
Contact staff writer Bob Brookover at 215-854-2577 or email@example.com.