ROUND ROCK, Texas – The Texas Rangers revealed the organization’s minor league coaching staffs for the 2023 season on Wednesday, including that of the Round Rock Express. Manager Doug Davis is set to make his Pacific Coast League coaching debut as the conductor of the E-Train. He spent the previous two years as the manager for the Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, the New York Yankees Triple-A affiliate.
Pitching Coach Dave Borkowski, Bullpen Coach Demetre Kokoris and Athletic Trainer Will Whitehead will join Davis as newcomers while Bench Coach Chase Lambin, Hitting Coach Matt Lawson, Development Coach Josh Johnson and Strength & Conditioning Coach Wade Lamont are set to return to the E-Train’s coaching staff.
Since he began coaching in 1995, Davis has led a minor league team for 10 total seasons and has accumulated a career 673-588 record. He spent the 2003-2004 seasons as the bench coach for the Florida Marlins, where he won the 2003 World Series.
In two seasons as the manager for Scranton Wilkes-Barre, Davis led the RailRiders to a combined record of 158-119. Last season, he helped oversee a pitching staff that led all Triple-A teams with a 3.89 ERA. Prior to his time as skipper, Davis spent three years in three different roles with Scranton Wilkes-Barre from 2017-2019. In 2017, he was the defensive coach before moving over to bullpen coach in 2018. In 2019, Davis was named the bench coach.
Before joining the New York Yankees organization, Davis spent 11 years in the Toronto Blue Jays system in a variety of roles. Before he was named manager of the RailRiders in 2021, Davis hadn’t held a manager title since 2008. He has also been a minor league field coordinator for the Montreal Expos (2001) and Florida Marlins (2002, 2005). His coaching career began in the Yankees system in 1995.
A catcher and infielder in his playing days, Davis was a ninth-round selection by the California Angels in the 1984 MLB Draft. He played professionally for 11 seasons between the Angels, Rangers and Kansas City Royals organizations. He appeared in seven games in the big leagues and tallied six games in 1988 with the Angels, while appearing in one game for the Rangers in 1992. He is a native of Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania.
Borkowski returns to Round Rock after pitching for the Express in 2006 and 2008. He frequented the PCL in 2022 as the pitching coach for the Oklahoma City Dodgers and oversaw a staff that held a 4.87 ERA, the third lowest in the league. He held the same title with the Double-A Tulsa Drillers in 2018-2019 and 2021. Before jumping over to the Dodgers organization, Borkowski served eight seasons as a pitching coach in the Houston Astros organization.
He played 15 professional seasons beginning in 1995 when he was selected in the 11th round by the Detroit Tigers. Borkowski appeared in 181 games in the big leagues over seven seasons with the Tigers (1999-2001), Baltimore Orioles (2004) and Houston Astros (2006-2008).
The right-hander appeared in six games out of the Express bullpen in 2006 and held a 2.57 ERA (2 ER/7.0 IP) with six strikeouts and two walks. When he returned in 2008, Borkowski went 2-2 over 27 appearances and one start. He posted a 2.43 ERA (11 ER/40.2 IP) and had 26 strikeouts with only seven walks. He is a native of Detroit, Michigan.
Kokoris will help Borkowski lead Express pitchers as the new bullpen coach. He spent 2022 as the pitching coach for the Low-A Down East Wood Ducks. While there, he guided the staff to a 3.84 ERA, the second lowest in the Carolina League. Prior to joining the Rangers system, he made his professional coaching debut as a pitching coach with the Short-A Vancouver Canadians (2019-20) before serving as one of the club’s rehab pitching coaches in 2021. Prior to his Blue Jays tenure, Kokoris gathered several years of experience tutoring pitchers at the collegiate level, including stops at Point Loma Nazarene University, Santa Barbara City College, the University of Oregon and the University of South Carolina. He also currently serves as pitching coach for the Greek National Team, a post he has manned since joining the team’s staff for the 2021 European Baseball Championship tournament in Turin, Italy.
Lambin returns for his third season in Round Rock after making his Triple-A coaching debut with the Express in 2021. Before hopping aboard the E-Train, Lambin spent the 2020 campaign as a member of the Rangers’ Fall Developmental League coaching staff. He previously served as a hitting coach for High-A Down East in 2019, Class-A Hickory in 2018, Short-Season Spokane in 2017 and the Rookie-level Arizona League Rangers in 2016. He first joined the Texas organization as a member of the Spokane coaching staff in 2015.
Lambin’s coaching tenure follows a playing career that spanned 13 seasons at the minor league level. He concluded his time on the field in 2014 with Sugar Land of the independent Atlantic League, playing in 106 games with the Skeeters. Lambin was selected by the New York Mets in the 34th round of the 2002 MLB Draft out of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and played in the Mets (2002-2006), Florida/Miami Marlins (2007-2008, 2012), Washington Nationals (2010), Minnesota Twins (2011) and Kansas City Royals (2013) organizations. He also spent the 2009 season with Chiba Lotte in Japan. The versatile defender appeared at every position except catcher over the course of his career.
Lawson returns to the E-Train after making his coaching debut in affiliated baseball in 2022. Last season, Lawson helped oversee the offensive development of top prospects such as CF Bubba Thompson, 3B Josh Jung and INF Josh Smith. For eight seasons, Lawson served a variety of coaching roles at his alma mater, Missouri State University, including the last four as the club’s hitting instructor and recruiting coordinator. Lawson was a three-year letterwinner at second base for MSU from 2005-2007, picking up second-team All-Missouri Valley Conference honors and MSU’s Willis Award as team MVP in 2006. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Missouri State in 2015 before finishing a master’s degree in sports management from MSU in 2017.
A native of Carl Junction, Missouri, Lawson posted a successful seven-year playing career after being drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 14th round of the 2007 MLB Draft. During his career, Lawson advanced as far as Triple-A Columbus with the Cleveland Indians organization, hitting a career-best .327 in 2012 with Double-A Akron. He was named the Short-Season Spokane Indians’ team MVP as a rookie in 2007 and a Class-A California League All-Star in 2009. He followed that performance with an effort that earned him a spot in the Double-A Texas League All-Star Game the following year.
After Johnson made his Triple-A coaching debut in 2022, he returns to Round Rock as the development coach for the second consecutive season. The Tampa, Florida native served as the Texas Rangers first base coach for the final two months of the year. While in Round Rock, he helped Thompson steal 49 bases in only 80 games before the speedster was promoted to the big leagues.
In 2021, Johnson made a stint as the manager of the High-A Hickory Crawdads. After the cancellation of the Minor League Baseball season in 2020, Johnson led a group of Rangers prospects in the Fall Developmental League, with both Rangers entries combining to post a 29-10-5 record. He originally joined the organization as a coach for Low-A Hickory in 2019 following one season as the Infield Coach on the San Diego Padres Major League staff in 2018. He also skippered the Gulf Coast League Nationals in the Washington farm system from 2016-2017. He led the GCL Nationals to an East Division title and an appearance in the GCL Championship in 2017, earning him the GCL Manager of the Year award. Under his guidance, outfielder Juan Soto was named GCL Most Valuable Player in 2016.
A switch-hitting infielder in his playing days, Johnson played professionally for 12 seasons in the Kansas City Royals (2004-2009) and Washington Nationals (2010-2015) organizations. He finished his career with a .252 batting average, 35 home runs, 384 RBI, 131 stolen bases and more walks (621) than strikeouts (614) over 1,069 minor league games, reaching as high as the Triple-A level. Johnson was selected by the Royals in the third round of the 2004 MLB Draft out of Middleton High School in Florida. He was an All-America selection in baseball at Middleton and bypassed a full scholarship to the University of Texas to sign with the Royals.
Will Whitehead will make his Triple-A debut in 2023 as the Round Rock Express Athletic Trainer. Whitehead comes to Round Rock after spending the 2022 season as the Athletic Trainer for the Los Angeles Angels Double-A affiliate, the Rocket City Trash Pandas.
Prior to his time in the Angels organization, Whitehead spent 11 years in the Colorado Rockies organization. Before getting involved in professional baseball, he spent time as an Athletic Trainer for the Winter X Games as well as Texas Tech University baseball. He earned his bachelor’s from Stephen F. Austin University and his master’s in athletic training from Texas Tech University.
The 2023 season will mark Lamont’s 12th year in the Texas organization and his third with the Express after making his Triple-A debut with Round Rock in 2021 following a role on the Rangers’ Alternate Training Site staff in 2020. Lamont’s previous stops in the organization include four seasons at Double-A Frisco from 2017-2019, another four at Class-A Hickory from 2013-2016 and one season with the Rookie-level Arizona League Rangers in 2012.
He was selected in the 29th round of the 2007 MLB draft by the Detroit Tigers and spent three seasons in the club’s farm system. He finished the 2009 campaign with Windy City of the independent Frontier League. The Florida native batted .320 with 11 home runs and 47 RBI as a junior at Flagler College. His father Gene played parts of five seasons in the Majors with the Detroit Tigers and managed eight years with the White Sox and Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Express kick off the 2023 season on Friday, March 31 against the Albuquerque Isotopes (Colorado Rockies affiliate) at 7:05 p.m. at Dell Diamond. Season memberships and flex plan ticket packages are on sale now. For more information about the Express, visit RRExpress.com or call (512) 255-2255. Subscribe to the E-Train email newsletter and keep up with the Express on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!