Scott Thorman (pictured) has been named manager of the Lexington Legends for 2017. He’ll be joined on the Legends staff by pitching coach Mitch Stetter, hitting coach Jesus Azuaje, bench coach Glenn Hubbard, athletic trainer Saburo Hagihara and strength and conditioning coach Jon Ervin.
Thorman, Azuaje, Hagihara and Ervin are all new to the Legends. Stetter returns for his second season, and Hubbard will be in his fourth season with Lexington.
The field staff was announced Tuesday, Jan. 10, by the Legends parent club, the Kansas City Royals.
Thorman was the manager at rookie-level Burlington of the Appalachian League for the past two seasons, and was the bench coach in Burlington in 2014. He was a first round pick by the Atlanta Braves in 2000, and played for the Braves in 2006 and 2007. He played for the Royals triple-A affiliate in Omaha in 2009 and 2010. A first baseman and outfielder, Thorman played for Canada in the 2006 World Baseball Classic and the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He resides in Kitchener, Ontario.
Hubbard joined the Royals organization in 2011. He spent 21 seasons as a coach in the Atlanta organization, including 12 years as the Braves’ first base coach under manager Bobby Cox. Before joining the Braves’ major league staff in 1999, Hubbard coached at Bradenton (1990), Macon (1991-92, 1994 and 1998) and Richmond (1993, 1995-97).
A 20th-round draft pick of the Braves in 1975, Hubbard played in the majors for Atlanta from 1978 to 1987. He concluded his playing career with Oakland, playing on an American League pennant winner in 1988. Hubbard was a National League All-Star in 1983. He tied a major league record for second basemen with 12 assists in a game on April 14, 1985.
Stetter is in his third full year as a coach in the Royals system. He was a pitching coach with the Arizona League Royals in 2015 before joining the Legends last year. After playing in college at Indiana State, he was selected by Milwaukee in the 16th round of the 2003 draft. He reached the majors with the Brewers from 2007 through 2011. He set a Brewers record in 2009 by recording 15 consecutive outs on strikeouts. He had a 4-1 record in 71 appearances for Milwaukee in the 2009 season. He is a great nephew of Gene Tormohlen, who played for the NBA’s St. Louis and Atlanta Hawks.
Azuaje comes to the Legends after two seasons as the hitting coach at Burlington. After an 11-year playing career in the minor leagues plus two seasons in Italy, Azuaje served as a coach in the Seattle organization, where he was the manager of the Arizona League Mariners in 2011 and 2012. He moved to the Los Angeles Dodgers organization and served as Latin America field coordinator there before joining the Royals with the Burlington assignment in 2015.
Hagihara is in his eighth year in the Royals’ organization. He had been on the Burlington staff for four years after three seasons with the Arizona League Royals. Previously, he was an athletic trainer for Ohlone College and two high schools in the San Francisco Bay area. A native of Tokyo, Hagihara earned a Bachelor of Science degree in exercise science from State University of New York at Cortland, and completed his master’s degree in kinesiology at San Jose State University.
Ervin joins the Legends after two seasons as the strength and conditioning coach at Burlington. Ervin received his Bachelor’s degree in health and exercise science from the University of Oklahoma. During his senior year, he worked at Youth Performance Training Facility in Norman, conducting speed and agility training camps for youth. Before transferring to OU, Ervin played baseball for Southern Arkansas University, and from 2008-2010 he played for Seminole State College, where his team reached the Junior College World Series.
“The Royals’ announcement about our field staff is another reminder that baseball season is coming soon,” said Legends’ President/CEO Andy Shea. “We’re looking forward to working with Scott Thorman and everyone on his staff, and it’s great to have Glenn Hubbard and Mitch Stetter with us again in 2017.”
Omar Ramirez, the Legends’ manager for the last two seasons, will be the manager at Burlington in 2017. Hitting coach Damon Hollins, who was also with the Legends the last two seasons, will serve as the hitting coach for Idaho Falls, the Royals’ affiliate in the Pioneer League.
The Legends open the 2017 season in Charleston, South Carolina April 6 and will play their first home game Thursday, April 13 at Whitaker Bank Ballpark against the West Virginia Power.
Photo credit: Waterloo Region Record/Burlington Royals