Tigers send Lamont to the bench, Brookens to third
The Detroit Tigers finally announced a slight shift in the responsibilities for members of the coaching staff, with Tom Brookens taking over as the team’s third base coach.
Rafael Belliard, who’d been in charge of the infielders before, takes Brookens’ old spot as the first-base coach, while Gene Lamont moves from coaching third into a more traditional bench coach role. Manager Jim Leyland’s oldest friend on the staff, Lamont had held that role — of the primary advisor and sounding board for the manager — in all but title, anyway.
It was a move — one that Leyland described as “rearrang(ing) the furniture just a little bit” — that had been in the works for a while, but one that hadn’t been finalized before, or divulged until now.
The Tigers announced the switches to reporters in attendance at the Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tenn., on Tuesday.
Making the move had nothing to do with fan/media criticism of Lamont as a third-base coach, something that reached a crescendo with his gamble to send Prince Fielder home from first during Game 2 of the World Series. “Difficulty is, nobody wants to talk to you, unless you (screw) up,” Lamont said afterward.
That criticism something that Leyland vociferously disagrees with, and something that had little to no impact on the decision.
“No. It has nothing to do with that. We’re going to rearrange one piece of our furniture and it has nothing to do with anybody’s results this year or the job they did. We just think it’s time maybe to make this move,” Leyland said two days after the end of the World Series, the day he and the team announced he was coming back on another one-year contract.
Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski was asked about the impending move the same day.
“The way I’d answer this question is that we’ve had some conversations for a lengthy period about making some possible transitions with responsibilities,” Dombrowski said, “nothing reflective upon what’s happened in the year past.”