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Schmidt, Manuel to work with Phillies' hitters at camp

Hall of Fame third baseman, manager among group of guest instructors

PHILADELPHIA -- There is a bit of a twist to the Phillies alumni invited to Spring Training as guest instructors.

Larry Andersen, Roy Halladay, Dave Hollins, Greg Luzinski, Dan Plesac and Aaron Rowand will work with players for a week or two, which is customary for guest instructors, but Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt and former manager Charlie Manuel will be present for most of camp, and they will be heavily involved as the Phillies implement a new hitting program.

"We're trying to work on crystalizing a philosophy of doing several things," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Monday afternoon. "One, making more contact, a two-strike approach that's more consistent, really bearing down on making contact, using the whole field. There's a variety of things that we're focusing on. We're not trying to change anybody's style of hitting. We're trying to change the thought process. Really, this is more about a mindset change. Situational hitting will be a great emphasis.

"We know that our team is not going to have a lot of power. We're going to have to be creative in scoring runs."

Schmidt is arguably the greatest third baseman in baseball history. Manuel is the winningest manager in Phillies history, and he is regarded as a hitting whiz. Manuel will also be returning to camp for the first time since the Phillies dismissed him as manager in 2013.

Video: Former manager Charlie Manuel phones into Hot Stove

The Phillies hope their presence, resumes and hitting acumen will help the process.

Hitting coach Steve Henderson will head the program, with coaches like Schmidt, Manuel and others each working with a specific group of hitters throughout camp.

"It's a little different, but I'm absolutely looking forward to it," Amaro said. "It'll be interesting to see how it works."

Schmidt, Manuel, Andersen, Halladay, Hollins, Luzinski, Rowand and Plesac have 29 All-Star selections, 11 Gold Glove Awards, six Silver Slugger Awards, three MVP Awards and two Cy Young Awards among them.

Plesac and Rowand will be in camp for the first time as guest instructors.

"They're the type of people that we like to have our young players emulate," Amaro said.

The Phillies invited Raul Ibanez, who cannot attend because of a scheduling conflict. Darren Daulton has a standing invitation to appear at camp, health permitting. (Daulton has been battling brain cancer since 2013.)

Phillies pitchers and catchers will hold their first official workout at Carpenter Complex in Clearwater, Fla., on Feb. 19. The first full-squad workout will be Feb. 24.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for
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