March 7 (UPI) — Former Major League Baseball journeyman Matt Stairs recently showed that he still has a sweet swing, despite being removed from the game for seven years.
Stairs is now the hitting coach for the San Diego Padres. The 50-year-old took a brief batting practice session on Tuesday at Padres spring training in Peoria, Ariz.
He only needed one pitch.
“I only got one swing, brother,” Stairs said in a video posted by the Padres on Twitter.
The lefty choked up before stepping into a fastball. He deposited the lone offering deep to right-centerfield. San Diego beat the Kansas City Royals 5-4 on Tuesday in its 13th spring appearance.
Stairs made his MLB debut at age 24 in 1992. He played two seasons for the Montreal Expos before joining the Boston Red Sox in 1994. He suited up for the Oakland Athletics from 1996 though 2000. He also spent time with the Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers, Toronto Blue Jays, Philadelphia Phillies, Washington Nationals, the Royals and the Padres.
The first baseman, outfielder and pinch hitter hit .262 with 265 home runs during his 19-year MLB tenure.
The Padres hired Stairs in October.
“Matt possesses a true understanding of and passion for hitting,” Padres executive vice president and general manager A.J. Preller said of the hire, according to MLB.com.
“Throughout his playing career, he was a student of the game. In this process, we looked for teachers who could make an immediate impact with our players, and Matt brings invaluable knowledge and experience both as a coach and as a 19-year Major League veteran.”
Stairs spent the 2017 season serving as hitting coach for the Phillies. The Padres fired hitting coach Alan Zinter on Sept. 1. Stairs helped the Phillies increase their team batting average from .240 to .250 during the 2017 season. The Padres have had the worst batting average in baseball in each of the last four seasons.