(UPDATED: 5 p.m.)
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez had said Thursday that his entire coaching staff would be back, including hitting coach Larry Parrish. Either he changed his mind or somebody changed it for him.
The Braves announced Friday that Parrish will not be back after one horrible season. Who ever made the decision — Gonzalez or general manager Frank Wren — it was the correct one.
Wren’s name, but not Gonzalez’, is on the news release, which was emailed at 3:40 p.m.
According to our David O’Brien, Wren met with Parrish Thursday afternoon and made the decision to fire him after no being satisfied with Parrish’s answers.
Parrish’s biography was immediately removed from the team’s website.
Somebody needed to be held accountable for the Braves’ going 10-20 down the stretch of the season and missing the playoffs.
There was no excuse for the Braves’ offensive woes for much of this season. It can be debated just how much blame or credit a hitting coach should get for a player’s fortunes. But the team’s collective shortcomings were so glaring this season that a change seemed unavoidable, which is why many were surprised when Gonzalez quickly stated that Parrish would be back.
The news release was brief:
ATLANTA, Ga. – Atlanta Braves Executive Vice President and General Manager Frank Wren announced today that hitting coach Larry Parrish will not return for the 2012 season. A search for a new hitting coach will begin immediately.
The remainder of the Braves staff, including bench coach Carlos Tosca, pitching coach Roger McDowell, first-base coach Terry Pendleton, third-base coach Brian Snitker and bullpen coach Eddie Perez, will all return for 2012.
As O’Brien reported in his blog, the Braves ranked 26th in the majors in batting average (.243) and on-base percentage (.308) after finishing fourth in on-base percentage (.339) under former hitting coach Terry Pendleton. They also hit only .205 in the final 12 games (3-9) and .195 with runners in scoring position in September.
When he originally announced Parrish would be retained, Gonzalez said: “I think if you hire people, let them do their job. … It’s easy to fire somebody and throw somebody to the wolves. That’s not the way I work.”
By Jeff Schultz