Newsmakers 2013: Larry Parrish to return as Mud Hens skipperWritten by Jay Hathaway | | firstname.lastname@example.org
A familiar face will be returning to the Toledo Mud Hens dugout for the 2014 season.
Larry Parrish agreed to return as the manager of the Mud Hens, his third stint with the Detroit Tigers’ AAA affiliate, which he has led to two International League championships.
Parrish was inducted into the International League Hall of Fame last season, during which time he also led the Single-A West Michigan Whitecaps to a 69-70 record.
Toledo Mud Hens President and General Manager Joe Napoli said in a news release he is thrilled to have Parrish back.
“As a manager, he’s a great teacher and I know we’ll see improvement in player development,” Napoli said. “For our fans, he’s always been a favorite. They will be glad to welcome him back.”
Parrish, a two-time All-Star during his 15-year Major League playing career, previously served as the Hens’ manager 2003-2006 and 2008-2010.
His championships came back-to-back, in 2005 and 2006, and his total record with the Mud Hens stands at 513-489, making him Toledo’s all-time winningest manager.
He was named the International League Manager of the Year in 2005.
Parrish replaces Phil Nevin, who went 188-243 as the Mud Hens skipper the past three seasons. The Tigers announced on Aug. 31 Nevin’s contract would not be renewed.
Parrish, who recently turned 60, will be reunited with hitting coach Leon “Bull” Durham, who will return for his 14th season with the Mud Hens.
Though Parrish’s return provides some familiarity for local baseball fans, it comes amid an active off-season of personnel shifts for the Tigers system following the retirement of Detroit manager Jim Leyland.
A.J. Sager, who has been pitching coach for the past six seasons, has been promoted to serve as Detroit’s roving pitching coordinator.
“It’s been a pleasure having A.J. in Toledo,” Napoli said in the release. “But we’re excited for him and his family and his new role and responsibilities within the Tigers organization, and the best part is we’ll still have the benefit of him coming to Toledo.”
Al Nipper, who pitched seven seasons in the majors and has been with the Tigers the past two years, will replace Sager as pitching coach.
Athletic trainer Matt Rankin is also leaving Toledo to join the Tigers major league staff as assistant athletic trainer. His replacement has not yet been named.
The 2014 season opens with a home game April 4, when the Hens take on the Louisville Bats.