Hickory, NC- The Texas Rangers, Major League parent club of the Hickory Crawdads, have announced the 2018 coaching staff for the 'Dads, with Matt Hagen taking over the reigns as the new manager. Hagen will be the 17th manager in Crawdads history and sixth since the start of the affiliation with the Rangers in 2009.
Hagen highlights a group of four newcomers coming from the Spokane Indians', the short-season affiliate of the Texas Rangers, coaching staff, including hitting coach Chase Lambin, bench coach Henry "Turtle" Thomas, and trainer Luke Teeters. Both pitching coach Jose Jaimes and strength and conditioning coach Adam Noel will return to the Crawdads staff.
Hagen makes his return to Hickory after previously serving as a coach in 2016 for the Crawdads. The 36-year-old made his managerial debut last season with Spokane, helping them to a second half division title. Hagen spent 11 years as a player, 5 in the minor leagues and 7 in independent leagues, hitting .264.
Lambin enters his first season with the Crawdads. He spent the 2017 season as Spokane's hitting coach. Lambin played 11 seasons in the minor leagues, accumulating a .271 average and 112 homeruns. He also spent two season in Japan before beginning his coaching career in 2015 with Spokane as an assistant coach.
Jaimes returns to Hickory for his third year as pitching coach and his 18th year in the Rangers organization. The former Texas farmhand began his coaching career during the 2008 campaign, when he served in a dual role as a player and pitching coach in the Arizona League. The Venezuela native would go on to spend four seasons as a pitching coach with the DSL Rangers before returning stateside in 2013 with the AZL Rangers and serving in the same capacity in 2014 with the Spokane Indians. Jaimes was originally signed by the Rangers as a non-drafted free agent in 2001 and went 12-8 with a 4.93 ERA over six seasons in the Texas farm system.
Thomas joins the Crawdads after spending last season as a coach with Spokane. He previously coached Florida International University for nine seasons, leading them to a pair of conference titles and three appearances in the NCAA tournament. Thomas stared his collegiate coaching career with Clemson in 1978, before spending time at Georgia Tech, the University of Miami, LSU, and Arizona State.
Teeters comes into his first season in Hickory. He spent the previous two seasons as Spokane's athletic trainer. Teeters also spent time as a trainer for the Rangers in the Dominican Summer League. He attended Wilmington College while completing an internship for the Cincinnati Reds. Following his graduation, he landed an internship with the Omaha Storm Chasers before joining the Rangers organization.
Noel enters his second year as strength and conditioning coach for the Crawdads after serving in the same role with the AZL Rangers. He joined the Rangers organization in September 2015 after spending the previous two years as a graduate assistant athletic performance coach at San Jose State University, where he earned a Masters of Art degree in Kinesiology and worked with Olympic Sports. Noel has also worked as an intern athletic performance coach at UCLA and performance coach at Velocity Sports Performance. He graduated from Cal State Fullerton in 2012 with a Bachelors of Science in Kinesiology.
The Crawdads will open their season at L.P. Frans Stadium on April 12th against the West Virginia Power. For more information about the Crawdads, including promotions, ticket books, and group outings please visit www.hickorycrawdads.com or contact the front office at (828) 322-3000.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.