Phillies Add Jones as Triple-A Manager; Helms, Brogna as Coaches
The Phillies made a couple of moves to their minor league coaching staff Thursday afternoon. Former Phillies first baseman Rico Brogna joined Double-A Reading's coaching staff, serving under manager Greg Legg. At Triple-A, the Phillies went outside the organization and have hired Gary Jones as Triple-A manager, who will be assisted by former Phillies third baseman Wes Helms.
Brogna has been involved in coaching in several sports since his retirement from major league baseball in 2001. Brogna served as manager of Post University's baseball team, a high school basketball coach, a high school football head coach as well as a high school baseball coach and even served as wide receivers coach for Wesleyan University.
In baseball, Brogna has managerial experience for the Mobile Bay Bears in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization. Brogna also served as a scout for the Tampa Bay Rays and spent time in the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim organization as special assistant to then-general manager Jerry DiPoto while Phillies general manager Matt Klentak worked there.
Jones has spent the last four seasons as third base coach of the Chicago Cubs, serving first under manager Rick Renteria and then under Joe Maddon. Jones was third base coach when the Chicago Cubs won their World Series title in 2016. Like Phillies hitting coach John Mallee, Jones left the organization during the recent coaching staff reorganization with the Cubs.
Jones has spent 32 years in baseball and has managed many minor league teams during his career. As a Triple-A manager, Jones won back-to-back Pacific Coast League championships. Jones was also named manager of the year four different times during his minor league managerial career.
Helms will be working in professional baseball for the first time since retiring as a player after the 2011 season. Helms has, however, served as a coach with Briarwood Christian High School in Birmington, Alabama in the time since. Helms may have found a desire to coach professionally after spending time as a guest instructor at 2017 Phillies Spring Training.
Helms spoke of his new desire to work in professional baseball with Larry Shenk of the Phillies on Phillies.com:
"I told my wife I wanted to be home until my youngest started kindergarten, just to make it easier on her," Helms said. "Well, now he's in the first [grade]. And my wheels are starting to turn a little bit now. Coming [to Spring Training] really got them spinning. To be back around the game.
"I'm around the game in high school and all. But it's different. Different level, different style of coaching. This is what I did for a long time. This is in my blood. I'm sure this could lead to conversations. Maybe with the Phillies, maybe with other teams. Whoever wants to talk. But I definitely am starting to think about it."
A year later, Helms is back in baseball.
The Phillies also named Matt Hockenberry Gulf Coast League pitching coach. Hockenberry pitched with the Clearwater Threshers and Reading Fightin' Phils last year and in the Phillies system since being drafted in 2014 out of Temple University. This will be his first coaching job.