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Former Red Sox hitting coach Chili Davis responds to John Henry's criticism

Ryan Hannable
March 26, 2018 - 5:46 pm

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- When Red Sox owner John Henry spoke at spring training about the 2017 season, the thing he kept coming back to was the hitting approach.

“We’ve made a lot of changes other than just the managers," Henry said. "You haven’t noticed? I think, who did we bring back? Dana [LeVangie], I think. Anyone else? I’m just saying, from my perspective at least, we’ve made a lot of changes. I think our approach last year was lacking offensively and we had issues that the players have already talked about. I don’t really need to talk about it, but I agree with what’s been said. But I don’t agree that we haven’t really made much in the way of changes. I think these were significant changes.”

This would seem to be taking a shot at former hitting coach Chili Davis.

On Monday, Davis, now the hitting coach of the Cubs, responded to Henry's remarks.

"We did what we had to do last year to win the division and move on to the playoffs," Davis said. "Unfortunately we didn't have success in the playoffs. That was disappointing, too. I don't take that personally. I think the time that I spent in Boston, that John Henry and the whole Boston organization was very, very good to me. So I have no ill feelings at all."

Davis did seem to take a shot at the Red Sox' heavy reliance on analytics.

"Well, I don't know if I can teach Dustin Pedroia launch angle, or Christian Vazquez, launch angle," he said. "I don't know if that's going to help them or hurt them. I think I worked with my hitters from what works best for them. We try to add to that. The launch angle thing is not something I'm opposed to, but if you're not a home run hitter, why would you be hitting fly balls? You're just going to make outs."

By in large, Davis took the high road and said he did what he could with the offense and expressed disappointment in the way the season ended.

"I thought we did a real good job as an offense, as a team," Davis said. "When you look at the power house teams in the division. Baltimore hit more home runs than us, but they went home. The Yankees hit more home runs than us but they didn't win the division. Toronto probably hit more home runs than us and they went home.

"So, I thought we did what we had to do win that division. That was the first step, to win it and move on to the playoffs and hopefully win in the playoffs which we didn't do. That was disappointing."