WASHINGTON - The Nationals will making some changes for their managers in the minor leagues this coming season.
But at least three of those managers will be returning to familiar roots in some fashion.
Matt LeCroy will be the manager for Triple-A Rochester. He was the manager for Double-A Harrisburg in 2019, then served as the organization’s quality control coordinator in 2020 as the minor-league season was called off due to the pandemic.
LeCroy was also part of the staff in Florida last fall during Instructional League.
“When something is taken away from you, you kind of take some things for granted,” he told Federal Baseball. “It was really good to be back to be back out there and put on the uniform and hit fungoes and teach and coach.”
LeCroy is a former bullpen coach for the Nationals and broke into the majors with the Twins in 2000.
He played for Washington in 2006 and ended his career back with the Twins in 2007.
Rochester was the long-time farm team of the Twins through 2020.
The new Double-A manager at Harrisburg will be Tripp Keister, a former player at the University of Delaware and a former coach at Delaware State.
He was the Single-A manager of Potomac in the Carolina League in 2019.
Keister got a look at Fredericksburg during the pandemic last summer.
“They showed us around and then we drove back” to Delaware, he told Federal Baseball of the trip he made with his daughter to Virginia.
The new manager at Single-A Wilmington will be Tommy Shields, who has been the co-field coordinator in player development the past few years with Jeff Garber.
The former Cubs and Orioles’ infielder has lived for several years in Lititz, Pennsylvania, about 36 miles east of Harrisburg and about one hour west of Philadelphia.
Shields was born in Fairfax and grew up in the Philadelphia area before playing in college at Notre Dame. He has managed in the minors for the Orioles, Royals and Cardinals.
Does he pattern his style after one of his former managers?
“Not really. You want to see what you have with a club. I would prefer to be aggressive, to steal a lot, to hit and run a lot and keep things moving and play good defense,” he told Federal Baseball last year.
Fredericksburg - the alternate site in 2020 - will now be the low Single-A affiliate of Washington. The manager will be Mario Lisson, the manager in the Gulf Coast League for the Nationals in 2019.
The Gulf Coast League manager will be Jake Lowery this year.