Smith hired as Phils' third-base coach

Phils hire Smith as third-base coach

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies named Steve Smith third-base coach on Monday, completing manager Charlie Manuel's coaching staff.

Smith replaces Art Howe, who left last month to become new Rangers manager Ron Washington's bench coach. Smith had spent the past five seasons as the Rangers' third-base coach and infield instructor, the past four under former Texas manager Buck Showalter.

Displaced by Showalter's dismissal, Smith found an opportunity with Philadelphia, thanks to Howe's departure. He'll inherit the responsibilities originally intended for Howe. Despite not having Howe's name recognition, Smith is regarded as one of the top infield instructors in the game.

First baseman Ryan Howard, the National League MVP, committed 14 errors, second only to the 15 made by Washington's Nick Johnson in the NL. The Phillies would also like to see improvement in Howard's footwork around the base. Second baseman Chase Utley made 18 errors, tied with Pittsburgh's Jose Castillo for the most in the NL.

With Texas, the 54-year-old Smith worked with Alex Rodriguez, Hank Blalock and Michael Young, and helped Mark Teixiera make the transition from third base to first base. Rodriguez and Teixeira have each won Gold Gloves.

"Steve came highly recommended to me by many people in this game whose opinion I trust," Manuel said in a statement. "He's done a great job everywhere he's been, and I think his track record speaks for itself."

Smith also coached for Seattle (1996-99, where he also helped enhance Rodriguez's defensive skills) and spent two seasons (2000-01) with Milwaukee as a roving infield instructor and Minor League manager. He led Indianapolis to the International League championship in 2000.

As a player, Smith spent seven seasons (1976-82) as a second baseman and shortstop in San Diego's Minor League system.

Ken Mandel is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.