Axe Falls; Phillies Fire Larry Bowa

The Phillies didn't wait until the season ended to make a move in their dugout. Larry Bowa was given his walking papers with two games remaining and the temporary reins were handed to bench coach Gary Varsho. The firing wasn't unexpected, but the timing was.

General manager Ed Wade insisted that he would assess the organization and address the status of manager Larry Bowa once the season ended. The timetable moved up Saturday and Wade dismissed Bowa with two games left in the season.

After being given the news, Bowa showered and left Citizens Bank Park without addressing the media. In a statement, he thanked the team for the opportunity and wished the Phillies well in the future.

Under Bowa's guidance, the Phillies finished with back-to-back winning records for the first time in 21 years. However, their string of seasons without a playoff appearance grew to 11. The Phillies were 337-308 under Bowa.

The speculation about Bowa's firing started before the all-star break and continued at various points throughout the season. With the Phillies wrapping up September with a 19-8 record for the month, the speculation had died down, but it was assumed that he would exit after the season. Neither Wade or Bowa had spoken recently about the speculation, after Wade insisted that Bowa would finish the season at the helm of the Phillies. Bowa was asked earlier in the day about his future and told reporters "I'm not talking about it," Bowa said then. "You guys have all speculated. You all have your unidentified sources. You probably know more than I do, which is pretty good."

Bench coach Gary Varsho will manage the final two games of the season. Varsho will also likely be in the running for the job when the Phillies officially begin their search for a new manager. The fate of the rest of the coaching staff has not been announced, but pitching coach Joe Kerrigan has announced that he will resign effective after Sunday's season finale. Speculation about the future of hitting coach Greg Gross has also run rampant at times throughout the season.

In addition to Varsho, likely replacements could include Phillies' special hitting instructor Charlie Manuel, AAA manager Marc Bombard and special scouting assistant Bob Boone. Names from outside the organization will likely include Bobby Valentine and Grady Little.

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