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 Tigers name Brookens first-base coach

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PostSubject: Tigers name Brookens first-base coach   Wed Nov 04, 2009 10:17 am

Tigers have three finalists for first base coach opening to replace Andy Van Slyke
By Steve Kornacki
November 03, 2009, 10:45PM

DETROIT -- Tom Brookens, Gene Roof and Mike Rojas -- each longtime Detroit Tigers minor league coaches -- are the top candidates to replace Andy Van Slyke as first base coach for the major league club.

“I want it to definitely be someone in the organization,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said Tuesday in a phone interview. “And it looks like we will hire from within. We’re just not close to naming the new coach.”

Leyland said he would be in Detroit today for club meetings, some of which will discuss the opening.

Van Slyke, a former Gold Glove winner and All-Star who played for Leyland with the Pittsburgh Pirates, decided to leave coaching for other opportunities. He also coached base running and outfield defense.

Brookens, 56, a key reserve infielder for the 1984 World Series champion Tigers, has managed the past five seasons in Detroit’s minor league system. He’s gone from Oneonta (N.Y.) to West Michigan to his current post with the Double-A Erie SeaWolves. He has won two championships, and in 2007 was named Midwest League manager of the year and was Baseball America’s top managing prospect in the league.

He played 12 years for the Tigers (1979-88), New York Yankees (1989) and Cleveland Indians (1990).

Roof, 51, was Detroit’s first base coach from 1992-95 and currently is the organization’s minor league outfield and base-running coordinator. He also has managed at Class A, Double-A and Triple-A in 24 years with the organization.

He was an outfielder during parts of three seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals (1981-83) and Montreal Expos (1983) and is one of five brothers to play professional baseball. His son, Shawn, was an infielder last year for Erie and another son, Eric, also is in the Tigers’ system.

He was a catcher at Michigan State and an 18th-round pick in June.

Rojas is Detroit’s minor league field coordinator, and has also been the organization’s minor league catching coordinator, interim manager for the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens and a manager at Oneonta and Lakeland, Fla. Baseball America named him the top managerial prospect in the Florida State League in 2005.

He also has managed in the minors for the Cincinnati Reds, Houston Astros and Chicago White Sox. Rojas was a minor league catcher for the Oakland A’s and Toronto Blue Jays, and is the son of former major league player and coach Cookie Rojas.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola


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PostSubject: Re: Tigers name Brookens first-base coach   Thu Nov 05, 2009 9:03 pm

Posted: Nov. 5, 2009
Ex-Tiger has eye on first-base coach opening

By JOHN LOWE
FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER

Tom Brookens, who throughout his 10 seasons (1979-88) as a Tigers infielder played with a soundness that coaches admire, has interest in becoming a major league coach.

The Tigers have a vacancy on the coaching staff, created when first-base coach Andy Van Slyke decided not to return. Manager Jim Leyland wants to fill the job with someone who's managing or coaching in the farm system. Brookens qualifies; he has managed in the Tigers' system the past five years, the past two with Double-A Erie.

"At the time I got into managing five years ago, it wasn't a goal of mine to coach in the big leagues," Brookens said in a telephone interview Wednesday. "I wanted to work in the minor leagues. I still really enjoy the minors -- working with younger players.

"Over the last five years, I have redone my goals a little bit. If a big league coaching job presented itself, I'd be interested."

Will Brookens, 56, get that chance with the Tigers? Leyland hasn't given any indication that he's close to picking Van Slyke's successor.

INGE UPDATE: As scheduled, third baseman Brandon Inge underwent surgery on both of his knees Tuesday. In announcing the surgery Wednesday, the club repeated a recent prognosis: Inge should be ready for the start of spring training in February. Inge underwent surgery for patellar tendinitis in both knees. His left knee hampered him the most.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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PostSubject: Re: Tigers name Brookens first-base coach   Mon Nov 09, 2009 3:14 pm



Tigers name Brookens first-base coach
Former infielder has been managing in Minor Leagues

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

11/09/09 11:40 AM EST

DETROIT -- Former Tigers infielder Tom Brookens is headed back to Detroit, this time to join manager Jim Leyland's coaching staff as the new first-base, outfield and baserunning coach.

The Tigers announced Monday that Brookens is their replacement for Andy Van Slyke, who parted ways with the club last month. It will be the first big league coaching job for Brookens, who built his resume managing in the Tigers farm system for the past five years after playing a decade in Detroit.

"Tom Brookens is a quality baseball person that I have known since managing him in the Minor Leagues," Leyland said. "He has been a member of the Tigers family for many years, and we feel he is a perfect fit for our Major League staff."

Brookens will make the jump from Double-A Erie, where he managed the SeaWolves to a 71-70 record this year while working with prospects such as Alex Avila, Scott Sizemore, Casper Wells, Ryan Strieby, Brennan Boesch, Alfredo Figaro, Cody Satterwhite and Robbie Weinhardt. It marked his second year in Erie after managing Class A West Michigan to a Midwest League championship in 2007.

Brookens began his managerial career in 2005 with the Tigers' short-season Class A team in Oneonta, N.Y.

That experience resonated with Leyland, a manager in the Tigers' farm system in the 1970s and '80s who got his chance as a coach with Tony La Russa's staff on the 1983 White Sox. Leyland has talked frequently about the value of managing in the Minors before getting a shot in the big leagues. He also said last month that he would almost surely fill the coaching vacancy from inside the organization.

It was during Leyland's Minor League days that he got to manage a young Brookens in the late '70s at Triple-A Evansville.

"I'm really excited about getting the opportunity to join the staff in Detroit," Brookens said. "It will be fun to be back in the big leagues in a Tigers uniform, and I'm looking forward to working with Jim and the rest of the staff."

Brookens gives the Tigers a connection on the coaching staff to the 1984 World Series championship team, something they haven't had since Alan Trammell managed from 2003-05. Brookens was a key utility player on that club, seeing time at third base, second base and shortstop.

Brookens broke into the big leagues in 1979 and had a breakout season of sorts the next year, when he batted .275 with 25 homers, nine triples, 10 homers and 66 RBIs as Detroit's regular third baseman. He either started or shared time at third for much of decade, and was the regular third baseman on the last Tigers team to win a division in 1987.

Brookens finished his Major League playing career with a .246 average, 71 home runs and 431 RBIs in 1,336 games.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: Tigers name Brookens first-base coach   Mon Nov 09, 2009 11:30 pm

More on Brookens: It's about people
BECK'S BLOG
Posted on November 9, 2009 at 6:46 PM

One of the things that Jim Leyland pointed out about his new 1B coach, Tom Brookens, was his ability to relate with people, notably with players.

"This guy's baseball knowledge and his people skills are tremendous," Leyland said.

I don't think it's a chemistry thing with Leyland, but for Brookens, it's a way of getting his message across.

"I think one of the things that helped me tremendously is I have three young daughters," Brookens said. "Even though they're girls -- which may be tougher than boys -- I can kind of relate to the age bracket that these guys are in. It isn't like it's very foreign. And it is important to me, managing and coaching. Fundamentals go to a certain point, and then it's [about] relating to them, try to get inside the player's head and have him believe in himself so that he can go out and compete to the best he can."

Brookens knew the question about being an outfield coach would come up, since he played the outfield for just seven games out of his major league career and he didn't specifically coach the outfielders in the farm system. But as a minor league manager, he did have to coach them up a bit when roving OF coordinator Gene Roof was elsewhere, and he said he can coach the fundamentals required to be a good outfielder.

"I think handling all those facets in the minor leagues will help me some," Brookens said. "Certainly my playings days didn't take me to the outfield much. I know plenty about the fundamentals of the outfield, [such as] footwork, release points, and that's a lot of what it comes down to, really. I've always considered myself a good baserunner. I don't foresee any real problems with any of those."

Brookens also noted the irony of getting the call from Leyland that he got the job. Leyland was Brookens' manager at Triple-A Evansville to start the 1979 season, and he was called up to Detroit that year.

"He was actually the one who called me in [and told him the news]," Brookens said. "It's a little ironic I get a call from him again to say I'm getting the call again to Detroit."

Brookens got the job over Roof. Mike Rojas, minor league field coordinator, also was considered.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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