October 17, 2004

Varsho, Pendleton, get our nods for next skip

On a team desperate for new blood, a couple of clean-slated first-timers would top our list.

The universal “blah” over the list of possible replacements for Larry Bowa indicates the names getting the most press - Charlie Manuel, Grady Little and Jim Fregosi - aren't exactly envigorating.

According to GM Ed Wade, six candidates will be interviewed. But the two guys that get the OK from BPF are longshots, and one of them, though in-house, appears not to be on Wade's list at all.

The first candidate, not on the list, was named best Eastern League managing prospect for two straight years by Baseball America, the other is a former NL batting champion.

Like a prospect who’s worked his way through a farm system to earn a spot in the majors, Gary Varsho has followed the same path on his way to Philadelphia. A one-time Phillie, but not in the old-boy’s club like Mike Schmidt and Larry Bowa, the Phils would do well on taking a chance on Varsho, who led Reading to a share of the Eastern League Championship in 2001. His 235-191 record in Baseballtown is fourth best in franchise history.

That kind of success is hard to ignore, and so are the good words coming out of Atlanta on the readiness of Terry Pendleton, hitting coach since 2002.

When the Braves talk, the Phillies should listen, and it seems that Wade has. Here’s what he had to say about Pendleton in Friday’s Inquierer:

"He's a very knowledgeable baseball guy," Wade said. "If there's somebody out there who doesn't have the length from the experience standpoint, but brings different qualities and has a chance to be a guy to hit the ground running... Terry has the ability to be that type of person."


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