Silver Sox name manager, pitching coach | NevadaAppeal.com

Silver Sox name manager, pitching coach

RENO – Two former Major League pitchers – Les Lancaster and Mike Hartley – have been named manager and pitching coach, respectively, by the fledgling Reno Silver Sox.

The pair were introduced to the media Tuesday afternoon at a press conference at Bully’s Sports Bar. Both Lancaster and Hartley held the same positions for the Mesa franchise in the first year of the Golden Baseball League.

Lancaster spent seven years in the majors, toiling for the Chicago Cubs, Detroit Tigers and St. Louis Cardinals. During his career, Lancaster averaged 50 appearances a year, compiling a 41-28 record. He compiled a 1.36 ERA in 42 games during one season. He pitched in the 1989 NLCS against the San Francisco Giants.

Hartley, who lives in the Lake Tahoe area, pitched for the Phillies, Twins and Dodgers. He currently is officiating basketball and wrestling in Northern Nevada.

“Les is a top-tier manager with a proven track record in professional baseball,” said Kevin Outcalt, commissioner of the GBL. “His achievements on and off the field create instant excitement and credibility with players and fans alike. The GBL is excited to see him make his mark on the Silver Sox and the community of Reno.”

“We have been talking to different people the last few weeks,” said Dwight Dortch, the Silver Sox general manager. “He’s had tremendous success over the last six years. Bringing him up here (from Mesa) is an opportunity we couldn’t pass up.”

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Lancaster has worked in the GBL, Northern, Northeast and Central leagues. Not bad for a guy who never thought he would manage.

“The first year I was a player-coach,” Lancaster said. “When I got the opportunity, I took it the first year to see what it was going to be like. It was a challenge for me, and I love challenges.”

The toughest thing for Lancaster is developing a pitching staff, because most of the good, young players coming out of college sign professional contracts. It’s up to him and Hartley to scour waiver wires and use their vast network of friends to get tips on players.

Lancaster indicated that two left-handed pitchers – Chris Marini and Jason Martinez – will pitch for the Silver Sox this year. Both pitched for the Mesa franchise last season. In fact, Lancaster said that up to seven Mesa players will play in Reno this year, including three outfielders.

Lancaster and Hartley first met in 1998 when both were pitching in Italy. When Hartley heard that Lancaster was going to manage in the GBL in Arizona, he gave his old buddy a call. Lancaster said he has complete confidence in Hartley’s abilities.

Hartley kept his hand in the game even after leaving pro ball. He coached his kids’ teams and has done camps for the last 10 years. He loves the game, and you can tell that after talking to him for just a short time.

“I loved working with kids,” Hartley said. “I was ready to go on to a higher level. I can make an impact at this level.

“The attitude isn’t too bad. Most players have egos, and you need that to compete at this level. They are here because they love this game and want to stay in it, or some want to see if they can get back to the next level. This league is great. It allows college players a chance to play the game they love.”

Lancaster said the caliber of the GBL is Double-A level.

“It varies,” he said. “It’s pretty good ball. Overall, all the teams are competitive. When people come to the ballpark, I think that people will be surprised.”

SCHEDULE RELEASED

The GBL’s 80-game schedule is out, and the Silver Sox home opener is slated for June 2 against the Long Beach Armada at 6:35 p.m. in the first of a three-game series.

Reno will play eight of its first 10 games at home, facing Long Beach, Fullerton and Chico. Weeknight games will begin at 6:35 p.m. Sunday games will start at 1:05 p.m. Saturday games will start at 1 p.m. and 6:35 p.m.

The season ends Aug. 27, and the playoffs begin Aug. 30.

TICKETS ON SALE

Season tickets are $135 per seat, and Dortch said that University of Nevada season ticket holders will get first crack at having the same seats as they do in the spring.

“Things are going well,” Dortch said. “We are doing as well as any of the teams did last year at this stage.”

If you are interested in tickets, go to silversoxbaseball.com.

TRYOUTS

The Golden Baseball League will hold its league-wide tryouts December 13-14 at Blair Field in Long Beach.

All of the manager and coaches will be in attendance, evaluating attendees and selecting players to fill open spots on their rosters. Contracts will be offered at the end of the two-day event.

“This is the annual opportunity we provide for aspiring professional players wanting to be signed by teams in the league,” Outcalt said. “Most players have college or pro experience, but many players that were signed had been out of baseball due to personal circumstances. Most of those players went on to have outstanding seasons.”

Anybody interested in trying out, go to http://www.goldenbaseball.com.