Reds announce Dragons’ coaching staff

New signage and COVID-19 safety features are set for opening day at Day Air Field. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

caption arrowCaption
New signage and COVID-19 safety features are set for opening day at Day Air Field. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

Former major leaguer LaHair will manage Dayton team

Former major league first baseman and outfielder Bryan LaHair will manage the high Class A Dayton Dragons this summer, replacing Jose Moreno, who was promoted to manage Class AA Chattanooga, the parent Cincinnati Reds announced Tuesday night.

In addition, the Reds announced Juan Samuel – who spent parts of 16 seasons in the major leagues – will be the Dragons’ bench coach, replacing Darren Bragg, who was not retained after last season.

Returnees to the staff include hitting coach Daryle Ward and pitching coach Brian Garman

LaHair has been in the Reds system since 2018, working mainly with rookie players, mostly at the Billings affiliate. His opportunity – and Moreno’s promotion – came when Ricky Gutierrez, last season’s Chattanooga manager, took a job in the Washington Nationals’ system.

LaHair was a 39th-round choice by Seattle in the 2002 draft, making it in 2008 to the majors, where he hit .250.

He later played two seasons with the Chicago Cubs, in 2011 and 2012, posting his best record with a .259 batting average to go with 16 home runs and 40 RBIs in 2012, when he also made the NL All-Star team.

Of the first 10 Dragons managers, seven had at least some major league playing experience. Only Billy Gardner Jr. (2006), Luis Bolivar (2017-2019) and Moreno, who managed the Dragons only one season but was 65-55 with a first-place Central League Eastern Division tie with Great Lakes, did not have major league playing experience before they managed the Dragons.

Samuel, who made three NL All-Star teams, becomes the most decorated coach of the Dragons since Ken Griffey Sr., who was the team’s hitting coach in 2010.

From 1983-99, Samuel played several infield and outfield positions for seven major league teams, including the Reds (1993), Phillies, Dodgers, Toronto, Kansas City, Detroit and New York Mets. He compiled a .259 batting average with 161 homers and 703 RBIs.

The Dragons open the 132-game season Friday, April 8, at Day Air Ballpark.

About the Author