Former Phils Return as MiLB Coaches

While much of the new Phillies coaching staff at the major league level came from outside of the organization, there are some former Phillies who have returned to the organization as minor league coaches for the 2018 season.

Rico Brogna, who was a fan favorite during his time with the Phillies (1997-2000), returns to Reading as an assistant coach under manager Greg Legg after previously coaching in Baseballtown in 2002 after a nine-year professional career. Brogna went on to  manage the Mobile Baybears (AA) in 2010 and finished with a 75-62 record. He joined the Angels’ organization as a special assistant to the general manager in 2013 and became the Angels’ player-information coach in 2014. In addition to his time with the Phillies as a player, Brogna also played for Detroit, Boston, Atlanta and the New York Mets.

Former Phillies infielder Wes Helms has been named the bench coach for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs under first-year manager Gary Jones.

The 41-year old Helms returns to professional baseball after a seven-year hiatus to make his coaching debut. A member of the Phillies National League East Championship team in 2007, the Gastonia, N.C., native enjoyed a 13-year major league playing career that ended following the 2011 season. He was originally drafted by Atlanta in the 10th round of the 1994 Draft out of Ashbrook (N.C.) High School before making his big league debut with the Braves in 1998. Helms went on to appear in 1,212 games and finished with a career .256 average, 75 home runs and 374 RBI between Atlanta (1998; 2000-02), Milwaukee (2003-05), Florida (2006; 2008-11) and Philadelphia (2007).

Helms is also a familiar name in International League circles, having spent parts of six seasons between Richmond (1997-98; 2000), Indianapolis (2003-04) and Gwinnett (2011). He twice earned the Tommie Aaron Memorial Award — which honors the Richmond Braves MVP – in 1998 (.275-13-75 in 125 games) and in 2000 (.288-20-88 in 136 games), when he also was selected as the Hank Aaron Award winner as the top performer in the entire Atlanta system.

Helms, who replaces another former Phillies infielder Charlie Hayes on the IronPigs staff, appeared with Philadelphia as a special guest Spring Training instructor in 2017.

In addition to Brogna and Helms, a couple of former minor league players are turning to coaching in the Phillies organization this season as well.

Tyler Henson served as a coach with short-season Williamsport last year after being a player/coach with Clearwater in 2016. Henson played 10 years in the minor leagues including his final four in the Phillies organization with Reading and Lehigh Valley. This will be Henson’s first season with the BlueClaws.

Christian Marrero, who played 12 seasons of minor league ball, including spending time with Reading and Lehigh Valley in his final two seasons, joins Williamsport’s staff as the hitting coach under manager Pat Borders. Marrero finished his minor league playing career with a .277 average and 107 home runs.

Greg Brodzinski will also make his coaching debut in 2018 with Williamsport. Brodzinski was an 18th-round selection by Philadelphia in the June 2015 draft and played in 5 games with Williamsport that season and also played in 16 games with the GCL Phillies that summer. In 2016, Brodzinski played in one game with Reading and has been on the Reading and Lehigh Valley disabled lists since that time.

Chuck Hixson

Chuck has a wide and varied background in covering sports both locally and nationally. Living in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania, Chuck has the distinction of being the only person to have covered both the Lehigh Valley IronPigs and Lehigh Valley Phantoms in every season of their existence. Chuck began covering sports in 1998 when he was the first program director and morning host at WTKZ-AM in Allentown, Pennsylvania when the station switched to an all sports format. Chuck produced the stations coverage of the Allentown Ambassadors baseball team, which played in the independent Northeast League. From there, Chuck was the editor and writer of Pinstripes magazine, covering Phillies baseball. That led to Chuck founding Philly Baseball Insider in 2003. Chuck has done freelance work for national entities such as USA TODAY, CBS, FOX Sports, Washington Times and others.

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