MIDLAND, Mich. - The Los Angeles Dodgers announced today that former major league player Luis Matos will manage the Great Lakes Loons for the 2015 season.
Matos fills the vacancy left when Bill Haselman, the Loons manager in 2014 was moved up to Advanced-A Rancho Cucamonga after Rancho's manager, P.J. Forbes, resigned two weeks ago. Before Forbes' resignation, Haselman was targeted to manage the Loons again this season
The 36-year-old Matos is the sixth manager in Loons history, joining Lance Parrish (2007), Juan Bustabad (2008-10), John Shoemaker (2011-12), Razor Shines (2013) and Bill Haselman (2014).
Matos was originally assigned to the Loons as a third coach on Haselman's staff along with pitching coach Glenn Dishman and hitting coach Jay Gibbons. But the Dodgers offered him the manager's position after Haselman went to Rancho Cucamonga.
"It was a surprise, because this was going to be my first year coaching (in the U.S.), but when they asked if I wanted to manage how could I say no?" Matos said. "It's a challenge and I like that."
Matos, a native of Bayamon, Puerto Rico, was the hitting coach for Criollos de Caguas of the Puerto Rican Winter League this past season, and helped the team compile the league's best regular season record. He's also managed in a league for elite young prospects in his home country.
Originally selected by the Baltimore Orioles in the 10th round of the 1996 draft, Matos logged seven seasons in the MLB (2000-2006 and played in 508 major league games - all but 14 with the Orioles. He finished with a .255 career batting average, 30 home runs, 140 RBI and 72 stolen bases. He finished his career in '06 with the Washington Nationals.
The Loons open their season on Thursday, April 9 when they host the Fort Wayne TinCaps at Dow Diamond. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m.
The Great Lakes Loons are a ninth-year Single-A partner of the Dodgers. For tickets and more information, call 989-837-BALL, or visit www.loons.com.