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Astros announce minor league field staffs
12/14/2006 4:23 PM ET
HOUSTON -- The Houston Astros announced today the field staffs for their minor league affiliates in 2007.

Jackie Moore will return as manager of the Round Rock Express in the team's third year as the Astros Triple A affiliate; Dave Clark will resume his role as manager of Houston's Double A affiliate in Corpus Christi; Jim Pankovits will again take the helm at Class A Salem; Gregg Langbehn has been named the manager at Class A Lexington, replacing Jack Lind, who is now a member of the Astros Major League scouting team; Pete Rancont will move into a new role as manager at Short-Season Class A Tri-City; and Rodney Linares will become the manager of Rookie League Greeneville. Mike Smith will become the minor league strength and conditioning coordinator. Orv Franchuck will join the Astros organization as the minor league hitting coordinator, and Jaime Garcia will also join the staff as assistant pitching coordinator. The remainder of Houston's minor league coordinators will continue in their same capacities: Tom Wiedenbauer, minor league field coordinator; Dewey Robinson, director of pitching development; and Russ Nixon, roving instructor; Pete Fagan, coordinator of training, conditioning and rehabilitation.

The Round Rock Express are set to begin their eighth season under the guidance of manager Jackie Moore and their third as the Triple A Pacific Coast League affiliate of the Astros. Moore led the Express to an 85-59 record in 2006, giving the franchise its sixth winning season in seven years of existence, all as a Houston affiliate. Round Rock has made five postseason appearances from 2000-2006 behind Moore, and he was named the Texas League's Manager of the Year in 2000, 2001 and 2004. Moore helped coach the 2006 Major League Baseball Futures Game. The 2007 season will mark Moore's 47th consecutive season working in professional baseball.

Former Major League pitcher Burt Hooton returns to the Express for a third consecutive season as the team's pitching coach. Hooton also served as Round Rock's pitching coach for the first half of the 2000 season before joining Houston on June 23, where he remained as the Astros pitching coach for parts of five seasons (2000-04). Ron Jackson will join the Astros organization as the hitting coach at Round Rock. Jackson served as hitting coach for the Chicago White Sox (1997-98), Milwaukee Brewers (1999) and Boston Red Sox (2003-2006), and the 2006 season marked Jackson's 18th year as a Major or minor league hitting coach. The former manager of the St. Louis affiliate Triple A Memphis Redbirds, Danny Sheaffer, will serve as a coach for the Express. Sheaffer spent six years with the Cardinals minor league system in a coaching capacity and compiled a 186-180 record at the Redbirds helm during those six years. Trainer Mike Freer will start his 11th season in the Pacific Coast League and his 18th season overall as a trainer in the Astros minor league system.

Dave Clark returns for a third season as manager of the Corpus Christi Hooks. Under Clark, the Hooks claimed the 2006 Texas League Championship with an overall record of 76-63. Before joining the Astros system as Corpus Christi's first manager, he spent five seasons as an instructor, coach and manager in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. Clark also played 13 seasons as an outfielder in the Major Leagues, including one season with Houston in 1998. Stan Boroski will become the Hooks new pitching coach after serving as pitching coach at Class A Salem for four seasons. He previously worked as both a scout and coach for the Astros during the past 13-plus years. John Tamargo, Jr. will resume his role as a coach in Corpus Christi. The 2007 season will be Tamargo's fourth year as a coach in the Astros minor league system, having spent the 2004 season on the staff at Class A Salem and 2005-06 with Corpus Christi. Trainer Jamey Snodgrass begins his ninth season in the Houston Astros organization and his third in Corpus Christi.

Jim Pankovits will return to the dugout to manage Class A Salem of the Carolina League for the second season. Pankovits had two previous stints as a minor league manager with the Houston Astros organization as he spent two seasons (1995-96) as manager at Class A Quad City of the Midwest League and two seasons as manager at Double A Jackson (1998-99).

Pankovits was named the Astros minor league infield coordinator in 2000 and served as the club's minor league defense coordinator from 2001-2005. A fourth-round draft pick of Houston in 1976, Pankovits spent parts of five seasons as an infielder with the Astros from 1984-88. Former Astros outfielder Chuck Carr begins his first season as hitting coach for Salem and third season with the affiliate. The 2007 season will mark his fourth coaching within the Astros organization. Larry Pierson will join Salem as the pitching coach after serving in the same capacity for Class A Dayton of the Cincinnati organization for three seasons. The former right-handed pitcher began his coaching career in 1995 as the pitching coach with the Rookie GCL Red Sox. Eric Montague will return for his fourth season as Salem's athletic trainer and his seventh season overall in the Astros organization.

The Astros named Gregg Langbehn manager of Class A Lexington, marking his fourth year as a manager in the Houston organization. In 2006, Langbehn served his third season as manager of the Short-Season A Tri-City ValleyCats. Behind Langbehn, the ValleyCats captured the 2006 New York-Penn League's Stedler Division with a 43-31 record, marking their second division title in three years. Joining Langbehn as Legend's hitting coach is former Astros minor league infielder Alex Eckelman. The 30-year-old played in the minors from 1997-2005. During the 2005 season, Eckelman hit .250 (42x168) in 61 games for Round Rock and .274 (23x84) in 26 games for Corpus Christi. Charley Taylor will return to the Legends for his seventh season as pitching coach with the team and his 26th year overall in the Houston system. J.D. Shields will become Lexington's athletic trainer after serving in the same position at Rookie League Greeneville for three seasons.

Pete Rancont joins the Short-Season Class A Tri-City ValleyCats as the 2007 manager. After coaching in the minors for six seasons, Rancont completed three seasons as coach for the Rookie League Greeneville Astros. He also coached at Class A Salem (2003), Class A Lexington (2002) and Class A Michigan (2001). Joel Chimelis will return to the ValleyCats staff as the hitting coach for the second season. Also returning to the Tri-City staff for his third season will be pitching coach Don Alexander. John Patton continues for his fourth season as the team's athletic trainer.

Former Astros minor league strength and conditioning coordinator Nathan Lucero will join Dr. Gene Coleman at the Major League level as a strength and conditioning coach for the Astros. Lucero, with the Astros organization since 1993, recently completed his fifth season as a minor league coordinator and served as an athletic trainer with the Round Rock Express (2000-01). He earned recognition as the Texas League Trainer of the year in 2000.

The Rookie League Greeneville Astros will have a new skipper in 2007 with former Lexington hitting coach Rodney Linares leading the team. Linares spent two seasons with Lexington after working for six seasons with the Astros Dominican Republic operations as a scout and hitting coach. He joined the Astros coaching staff in 1999 after a three-year minor league playing career. Bill Ballou will return for his third season as Greeneville's pitching coach. The remainder of the Greenville coaching staff is TBA.

Replacing Lucero as minor league strength and conditioning coordinator will be former Lexington trainer Mike Smith. Smith completed three seasons with Lexington (2004-06) and six total in the Houston organization. Two new coordinators also will join Smith and the Astros organization. Orv Franchuck, former minor league hitting coordinator for the Boston Red Sox, will join the Astros organization as the minor league hitting coordinator. Franchuck spent four years with the Red Sox and has more than 20 years of pro baseball experience, including eight with the Oakland organization. From the Cincinnati Reds organization, Jaime Garcia will become the Astros minor league assistant pitching coordinator. Garcia joined the Reds organization in 2003 and spent the previous two seasons as the Latin American pitching instructor for the Kansas City Royals. He has held various coaching positions for the Royals, Chicago White Sox, Milwaukee Brewers and Texas Rangers organizations.

The remainder of the Astros minor league coordinators will remain the same from the 2006 season. Tom Wiedenbauer will begin his seventh year as the organization's minor league field coordinator; Dewey Robinson starts his 11th season as the minor league director of pitching development; Russ Nixon is entering his second year as a roving instructor and will begin his 55th year in professional baseball, his fifth in the Astros system and his second in his current role after serving as manager at Greeneville in 2005; and Pete Fagan will start his sixth season in the Astros system as the coordinator of training, conditioning and rehabilitation.

2007 MINOR LEAGUE STAFF
ROVERS

TOM WIEDENBAUER - FIELD COORDINATOR
DEWEY ROBINSON - DIRECTOR OF PITCHING DEVELOPMENT
ORV FRANCHUCK - HITTING COORDINATOR
MIKE SMITH - STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING COORDINATOR
PETE FAGAN - COORDINATOR OF TRAINING, CONDITIONING AND REHABILITATION
RUSS NIXON - ROVING INSTRUCTOR
JAIME GARCIA - ASSISTANT PITCHING COORDINATOR

ROUND ROCK
JACKIE MOORE - MANAGER
RON JACKSON - HITTING COACH
BURT HOOTON - PITCHING COACH
DANNY SHEAFFER - COACH
MIKE FREER - TRAINER

CORPUS CHRISTI
DAVE CLARK - MANAGER
JOHN TAMARGO JR. - HITTING COACH
STAN BOROSKI - PITCHING COACH
JAMEY SNODGRASS - TRAINER

SALEM
JIM PANKOVITS - MANAGER
CHUCK CARR - HITTING COACH
LARRY PIERSON - PITCHING COACH
ERIC MONTAGUE - TRAINER

LEXINGTON
GREGG LANGBEHN - MANAGER
ALEX ECKELMAN - HITTING COACH
CHARLIE TAYLOR - PITCHING COACH
JD SHIELDS - TRAINER

TRI-CITY
PETE RANCONT - MANAGER
JOEL CHIMELIS - HITTING COACH
DON ALEXANDER - PITCHING COACH
JOHN PATTON - TRAINER

GREENEVILLE
RODNEY LINARES - MANAGER
TBA - HITTING COACH
BILL BALLOU - PITCHING COACH
TBA -- TRAINER

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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