wes helms

Phillies add several notable names to minor-league coaching staff

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Phillies add several notable names to minor-league coaching staff

The Phillies are making life harder on Joe Maddon.

The Phils on Thursday announced some minor-league coaching hirings, including Gary Jones as the new manager of the Triple A Lehigh Valley IronPigs.

Jones was the Chicago Cubs' third base coach from 2014 to 2017. Prior to that, he had extensive experience as a minor-league coach. He managed minor-league clubs in the Athletics, Red Sox and Padres organizations and also spent seven years as a roving minor-league infield instructor for San Diego.

Jones is the third man the Phillies have plucked away from the Cubs this offseason. New hitting coach John Mallee served that role for Chicago from 2015-17, and new first base coach Jose Flores was the Cubs' minor-league field coordinator for five seasons.

At Lehigh Valley, Jones replaces Dusty Wathan, who was promoted to the Phillies' major-league staff as Gabe Kapler's third base coach.

Other notable hirings in the Phillies' minor-league system include former 1B Rico Brogna and infielder Wes Helms. Brogna will be a coach on Double A Reading's staff, while Helms will be on Jones' staff at Triple A.

Brogna was the Phillies' first baseman from 1997-2000. Helms spent one of his 13 big-league seasons with the Phillies, in 2007 as a platoon third baseman with Greg Dobbs and Abraham Nunez.

The Phillies also announced they're adding a second Gulf Coast League team, which will allow them more flexibility in finding playing time for their young prospects. It's a sign of improved young depth in the system, particularly in the area of international signings. The Yankees and Tigers also have two GCL teams.

"This is reflective of where we are as an organization," director of player development Joe Jordan said. "We need to make sure we have enough at-bats and innings for all the players so they can develop and be evaluated."

Jim Salisbury contributed to this report.

6 Phillies alumni — 2 newcomers — to serve as spring training instructors

6 Phillies alumni — 2 newcomers — to serve as spring training instructors

Six Phillies alumni will serve as guest instructors at spring training, the team announced Tuesday: Mike Schmidt, Charlie Manuel, Brad Lidge, Larry Andersen, Chad Durbin and Wes Helms.

All but Durbin and Helms have been assistants at past Phillies spring trainings.

The report date for pitchers and catchers is right around the corner. The first workout is scheduled for Feb. 14 and full-squad workouts begin Feb. 17.

This group of guest instructors represents the 1980 World Series team, 1983 and 1993 pennant-winning clubs and the 2008 championship team. 

Durbin and Helms spent the least time with the Phillies, though Durbin was a key piece of the 2008 pitching staff. He had a 3.98 ERA in 210 appearances with the Phils from 2007-09 and 2013. 

Helms was here just one season, 2007, as part of a third base platoon that included Greg Dobbs and Abraham Nunez.