The Clinton LumberKings announced a change in their managerial team for the 2020 season.
This year, former Batavia Muckdogs manager Tom Lawless gets to steer the Middle-A Marlins affiliate, the Clinton LumberKings in the Midwest League. He led Batavia to a 41-35 record with a division title in 2019.
Lawless was initially a 17th round draft pick of the Cincinnati Reds back in 1978, and went on to a nine-year major league career. He also played for the Montreal Expos, the St. Louis Cardinals, and the Toronto Blue Jays over the course of his time in “The Show.” In 343 contests, he slashed .207/.263/.258 while playing mostly second and third base.
After his playing career came to a close, Lawless managed the MWL’s Cedar Rapids Kernels for three seasons beginning in 1994. He later spent three years as the hitting coach for the Norfolk Tides in the Triple-A International League.
Lawless later managed the Peoria Chiefs in 2000, the Fort Wayne Wizards in 2001, and the Frederick Keys in the High-A Carolina League in 2003 and 2004. He then served as a minor league hitting and infield instructor for the Baltimore Orioles organization.
Later yet, Lawless managed in the Houston Astros system, leading the Lexington Legends, the Lancaster JetHawks, and the Corpus Christi Hooks before finally getting a chance to manage at the major league level, with the 2014 Houston Astros.
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Also joining the coaching staff in Clinton is former minor league first baseman Matt Snyder. You may remember him from his time in Spring Training for the Marlins last season. With the Triple-A New Orleans Baby Cakes in the Pacific Coast League last season, he hit .270/.353/.439 with five homers and 32 RBI in 51 games. He joins the Kings as the new hitting coach replacing Frank Moore.
Pitching coach Mark DiFelice, now defensive coach Moore, and athletic trainer Melissa Hampton remain from last-season’s coaching staff. Sam Sauer comes on as the new strength and conditioning coach.
Last season, former Florida Marlins slugger Mike Jacobs steered the Kings to a 78-61 record and a date in the Midwest League playoffs. All signs point to Jacobs moving up a level to the High-A Jupiter Hammerheads in the Florida State League in 2020.