“I am very pleased to add John Russell to our development staff,” said Phillies' Assistant General Manager, Scouting and Player Development Mike Arbuckle. “With his experience, he is a significant addition for us.” With that, John Russell rejoined the organization that drafted him in the 1st round of the 1982 Draft. Russell will manage the AAA Scranton Wilkes-Barre Red Barons in 2006.
Russell, who interviewed for the Phillies manager's job prior to Larry Bowa being hired, brings an impressive resume to Scranton. Russell spent the past three seasons serving as the Pittsburgh Pirates third base coach. Prior to that, he managed for eight seasons in the Twins minor league system, winning championships in both the AA Eastern League (1998) and the Pacific Coast League (2002). Russell was also named Best Managerial Prospect twice by Baseball America.
Russell fills the spot vacated by Gene Lamont, who left Scranton after one season to join Jim Leyland's staff with the Detroit Tigers. Completing Russell's staff will be Hitting Coach Sal Rende and Pitching Coach Rod Nichols.
Meanwhile, P.J. Forbes moved up a couple of steps on the Phillies managerial ladder and will take over the 2006 Reading Phillies. Forbes became the first person to manage the Lakewood BlueClaws in back-to-back seasons when he returned to Lakewood for the 2005 season. He'll replace Steve Swisher, who was not asked to return to the Phillies' organization.
“I’m very excited for the opportunity presented to me by the Phillies. It’s a chance to further my career and I appreciate that. I’m excited to
come to Reading with it’s history and to be around great fans, in a great ballpark with a great field staff and front office,” Forbes said from Surprise, Arizona where he’s coaching Phillies and other prospects in the Arizona Fall League.
Hitting Coach John Morris and Pitching Coach Tom Filer will return to their positions with Reading on Forbes' staff.