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LeCroy named new Suns manager

November 22, 2008

Matt LeCroy is going from behind the plate to behind the scenes.

LeCroy was named the manager of the Hagerstown Suns for the 2009 season on Friday, a season after retiring as a player, by the Washington Nationals.

He will head a staff which includes pitching coach Rich Gale, hitting coach Tony Tarasco and coach Ramon Aviles while Jeff Allred returns as the team's trainer.

LeCroy spent most of his career with the Minnesota Twins as a catcher, but played in 2006 for the Nationals. It was enough to make an impression both ways.

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"Playing with the Nationals, I got to know a lot of those guys, the coaching staff and the general manager and I loved the staff," LeCroy said. "It was a good fit for me and I am looking forward to it."

LeCroy, who spent eight years in the majors, will be making his coaching debut with the Suns. After leaving the Nationals, LeCroy returned to Minnesota for 2007 before signing with Oakland in 2008. He ended his career playing for Lancaster in the Atlantic League. He finished his career with a .260 batting average and 60 home runs.

Gale joins the Nationals system, bringing a wealth of experience as a pitching coach. He pitched for seven seasons for Kansas City, San Francisco, Cincinnati and Boston, finishing with a 55-56 record and a 4.54 ERA. Gale served as Boston's pitching coach in 1992-93. He comes to the Nationals after spending three years in the Florida organization.

"I'm an East Coast guy and looking forward to getting back to an area I'm familiar with," Gale said. "I've never been at this level, I've always been at higher levels. I'm really looking forward to the hands on teaching aspect of it."

Tarasco returns for a second season as Hagerstown's hitting coach. Prior to joining the Suns last season, Tarasco, who spent eight seasons in the majors, including a stint with Baltimore, spent two seasons working with the Vermont Lake Monsters, Washington's short-season Single-A affiliate in the New York-Penn League.

Aviles will join the team in June after he finishes managing in extended spring training. Aviles, who managed Vermont in 2008, spent 21 seasons as a coach in the Philadelphia system and two years coaching for Milwaukee.

Allred graduated from Texas State University and spent one season with the Macon Music of the independent Southcoast League.

The Suns, who are in their third season as a Nationals affiliate, open the season on April 9, 2009. They open the home season at Municipal Stadium on April 13.

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