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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Tigers tap Larry Parrish for third stint as Mud Hens manager

DETROIT — It’s always good to get a scouting report on things from your minor league affiliates.

Sometimes, it’s not bad to get a scouting report of the guys who will be giving you a scouting report.

The brother of Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland, himself a Toledo-area native, is a regular at Toledo Mud Hens games, and praised the organization’s choice to bring back Larry Parrish for a third stint as the manager of its Triple-A affiliate.

“I think he had some success down there at Toledo before, and I know they really liked him. My brother said they really liked him. ... I know for a fact that ... because he won there, he’s a real popular guy,” Leyland said Wednesday, after the organization announced the move.

“He’s terrific. I think the world of Larry Parrish. I think he’s an outstanding baseball man. He’s a great evaluator. I think he’s an outstanding baseball guy ... and a great guy. I really enjoy being around him. He was always very nice to me, and respectful.”

Parrish has already had two successful stints as the manager of the Toledo Mud Hens, the Triple-A affiliate for the Detroit Tigers, and he’ll start a new one next spring.

The organization announced Wednesday that the 59-year-old Parrish had been hired as the next manager of the Mud Hens, replacing Phil Nevin, whose contract was not renewed at the end of the 2013 minor league season.

“As a manager, he’s a great teacher and I know we’ll see improvement in player development,” Toledo general manager Joe Napoli said in the Tigers’ news release. “For our fans, he’s always been a favorite, they will be glad to welcome him back.”

Parrish had been the manager of the Tigers Class A West Michigan affiliate this past season, after one full season as the hitting coach for the Atlanta Braves.

A two-time All-Star in his playing days for the Expos, Rangers and Red Sox, Parrish began coaching in the Tigers organization in 1992. He was added to Buddy Bell’s big-league staff as the bench coach for the Tigers in 1997, then succeeded the fired Bell late in the 1998 season, before getting the full-time job in 1999.

Parrish managed the Mud Hens in 1994 then again from 2003 to 2010, before spending a year as the Atlanta Braves’ hitting coach in 2011. He led Toledo to International League titles in 2005 and 2006, earning IL Manager of the Year and Sporting News Minor League Manager of the Year honors in 2005. He was named to the IL Hall of Fame this season.

Toledo’s pitching coach under Nevin, A.J. Sager, was moved to the organization’s role as roving pitching coordinator, switching places with the man who held that role this season, Al Nipper.

Leon “Bull” Durham will return for 14th season as Toledo’s hitting coach.


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