October 18th, 2010

Minor-league coaching updates

The Tigers have become known for giving former players a shot at managing with minor-league posts, from Bruce Fields in the 1990s to Tom Brookens, Matt Walbeck and Phil Nevin more recently. Ernie Young wasn’t a Tigers player for long, and he already has a few years of managerial experience, but he’s set to be the next ex-Tigers player to manage.

The Tigers normally don’t announce their Minor League coaching staffs until they’re just about set at every level, and that hasn’t happened yet. But they have an opening to fill at low Class A West Michigan, after Joe DePastino shifted into a teaching role as the organization’s roving catching instructor.

AOL FanHouse reported over the weekend that Young, a longtime Minor League veteran who spent 2003 in the Tigers system, will take over. No final hire has been made, according to a team source, but unless something falls through, all signs point to Young getting the job.

It would not be a first chance. Young managed in the White Sox organization the last two years at Class A Kannapolis, and just finished a stint last week managing Team USA in the Pan Am Games qualifying tournament. His hitting coach for Team USA: Leon “Bull” Durham, his hitting coach as a player at Triple-A Toledo in 2003 and still the Mud Hens hitting coach.

Young went 2-for-11 in his brief stint as a Tiger that year, one of 17 seasons he spent in pro ball. He made it to the big leagues one more time, with the Indians in 2004, before retiring after the 2007 season.

Joining Young at West Michigan could be another ex-Tiger, Ben Ogilvie. TigsTown.com reported Ogilvie is expected to be named the Whitecaps’ hitting coach.

DePastino’s move is not being taken necessarily as a demotion. Speculation pointed towards a change back in August when another former Tiger, Kevin Hooper, told the Wichita Eagle he had been offered the West Michigan job. At that point, the Whitecaps were rallying towards a wild card spot in the Midwest League playoffs, making them the only Tigers affiliate to reach the postseason.

“My new job is one I’ve always wanted,” DePastino told the Grand Rapids Press. “I’ve been a catcher my whole life, and while I love managing, being with the catchers full time is a good gig.”

Andrew Graham was the roving catching instructor this season, but he’s expected to move into a full-time coaching role, possibly a managerial post.