Monday, March 14, 2005

Ira Smith Elevated to Hitting Coach

Bench Coach Ira Smith has been elevated to hitting coach for the Lincoln Saltdogs. Smith replaces Mike Busch who left to become the inaugural manager of the Calgary Vipers.

“With “Bushy” going to Calgary, we felt that Ira deserved the challenge to develop our hitters. He brings professional playing experience to the position and has the ability to teach those experiences to our talent. He will be challenged, but we believe he is the best person for the position,” said Saltdogs Manager Tim Johnson.

Smith, who retired in 2003 following 14 seasons as a professional player, joined the Saltdogs coaching staff in late 2003. He led collegiate baseball in hitting for two consecutive seasons at the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore, to become the first player in college baseball history to accomplish that feat.

Upon graduation, Smith entered the professional ranks and batted .346 avg. in Class A, .321 avg. in AA and .325 in AAA. He played for affiliated teams until 1998 and then continued his career in the Northern League until his retirement. He is a member of the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore Athletic Hall of Fame.

In other coaching news, Mike Workman will be back as the first base coach for Lincoln. Workman, a native of Funk, NE and University of Nebraska-Kearney product, will begin his third season on the coaching staff. The Saltdogs, last month, also named Jim Allen as pitching coach to replace Kennie Steenstra.

The Lincoln Saltdogs are scheduled to open the season at 7:05 pm on Friday, May 20th in Sioux Falls, SD against the Sioux Falls Canaries at Sioux Falls Stadium.



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