'A change was needed' – Phillies fire manager Joe Girardi as Dombrowski acts

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The Philadelphia Phillies fired manager Joe Girardi on Friday following a disappointing 22-29 start to a season the team entered with high expectations.

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski announced bench coach Rob Thomson will take over as interim manager through the remainder of the season. The Phillies also relieved coaching assistant Bobby Meacham of his duties as part of the staff shake-up.

The moves come with Philadelphia sitting 12 games back of the first-placed New York Mets in the National League East and five and a half games out of a wildcard spot.

Despite the presence of reigning NL MVP Bryce Harper and a payroll exceeding $225million – the fourth highest in Major League Baseball this season – the Phillies have gone 11-18 since May 1 and are 4-10 in games decided by one run.

Only Texas (2-8) have a lower winning percentage in one-run games in 2022.

"It has been a frustrating season for us up to this point, as we feel the club has not played up to its capabilities," Dombrowski said in a statement. "While all of us share the responsibility for the shortcomings, I felt that a change was needed and that a new voice in the clubhouse would give us the best chance to turn things around.

"I believe we have a talented group that can get back on track, and I am confident that Rob, with his familiarity and experience with our club, is the right man to lead us going forward."

Girardi, who won a World Series managing the New York Yankees in 2009 and was the 2006 NL Manager of the Year with the then-Florida Marlins, was hired by Philadelphia prior to the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. The 57-year-old went 82-80 in his first full season with the team in 2021 and amassed a 132-141 overall record with the Phillies.

Thomson has never been a full-time manager at the major league level but the 58-year-old has extensive experience as a bench coach, having served in that role with the Phillies since 2018 and previously holding those duties under Girardi with the Yankees in 2008 and again from 2015-17.

The native Canadian will be tasked with improving a team who have had one winning season since last reaching the playoffs in 2011. The Phillies' postseason drought is the second-longest active streak in MLB, trailing only the Seattle Mariners' run of 20 consecutive seasons missing the playoffs.

"I am extremely excited for this opportunity and I appreciate the confidence Dave has shown in me," said Thomson. "Having said that, this is an emotional day for me, having worked closely with Joe for so many years.

"I care deeply about this franchise, this city, our players, our coaches, our staff and our fans. I am ready to lead this team and look forward to getting to work and turning this around."

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