Lexington Legends

Ex-Red named Legends' manager

Former major-league player and veteran minor-league manager Tom Lawless was named the new manager of the Lexington Legends on Wednesday.

The Legends' parent club, the Houston Astros, announced the move.

Lawless replaces Gregg Langbehn, who managed the Legends the past two seasons.

Langbehn was hired last month to manage the Traverse City (Mich.) Beach Bums of the independent Frontier League.

Stubby Clapp, Lexington's hitting coach last season, will fill the same role for Houston's rookie league team, Greeneville (Tenn.). Former Legends coach Rodney Linares will manage Greeneville.

Lawless will be assisted by hitting coach Pete Rancont and pitching coach Charley Taylor.

Lexington finished with a South Atlantic League-worst 45-93 record in 2008. That record eclipsed the 2007 team (59-81) for worst in franchise history.

Lawless, 51, has managed in the minors in the Anaheim, St. Louis, San Diego and Baltimore organizations. He has been with the Orioles for the past five seasons, including the past three as minor-league roving infield/base-running instructor. He spent the 2002 season working for the office of the commissioner of Major League Baseball as on-field operations assistant.

Lawless was a coach for the Chinese team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He also coached in the Australian winter leagues in 1994-95.

Lawless played at the major-league level for eight seasons. He reached the majors with Cincinnati in 1982.

On Aug. 16, 1984, the Reds traded Lawless to the Montreal Expos for Pete Rose, who returned to the Reds as a player-manager and went on to set baseball's all-time record for career hits the following season.

Lawless was traded to St. Louis in the spring of 1985 and appeared in two World Series with the Cardinals. In Game 4 of the 1987 Series against Minnesota, he hit a three-run homer that helped the Cardinals to a 7-2 win. It was one of three home runs Lawless hit in his major-league career.

Taylor will return for his ninth season as Legends pitching coach and his 28th year overall in the Houston system.

"Charley has become a summer staple in the Central Kentucky community," Legends General Manager Andy Shea said. "It's great to have him back again."

Rancont returns as hitting coach after managing Tri-City for two seasons. Rancont has been a coach since 2001, including 2002 with the Legends and three seasons with Greeneville.

John Patton enters his sixth season in the Astros organization and his second as athletic trainer at Lexington.

Shaking up staffs is routine in the minor leagues. Langbehen and J.J. Cannon (2001-02) are the only men to lead the Legends for two seasons. Russ Nixon, Ivan DeJesus, Tim Bogar and Jack Lind each managed for one season.

The 2009 roving instructors, who will work with all Astros minor-league clubs, are: Al Pedrique, field coordinator; Britt Burns, pitching coordinator; Mike Barnett, hitting coordinator; Jaime Garcia, assistant pitching coordinator; Danny Sheaffer, catching instructor; Gary Redus, outfield and base-running instructor; former Legends trainer Mike Smith, strength and conditioning coordinator, and Pete Fagan, medical coordinator.

Other Astros minor-league managers named Wednesday: Marc Bombard, Class 3A Round Rock; Luis Pujols, 2A Corpus Christi; Wes Clements, High-A Lancaster; Jim Pankovits, Short-Season A Tri-City; Omar Lopez, Gulf Coast League Astros, and Luis Martinez, Dominican Summer League Astros.