Traverse City Record-Eagle

February 24, 2014

Beach Bums promote bench coach to manager

BY JAMES COOK
jcook@record-eagle.com

---- — TRAVERSE CITY — That didn't take long.

Just three days after Traverse City Beach Bums manager Gregg Langbehn accepted a job with the Cleveland Indians, the franchise hired a new skipper in Dan Rohn.

The Traverse City resident and long-time AAA manager was promoted from bench coach to manager today.

Langbehn rang up a record of 267-212 in five seaons, including three trips to the playoffs and a berth in the 2010 championship series.

"Gregg did a great job here for five years," Rohn said. "It'll be fun to step in and try to continue his winning ways. He's done a great job setting the tone, him and Jason (Wuerfel). Luckily, I'll be continuing to work with Jason and get some players up here who can win some ball games for us."

Rohn, an Alpena native who played at Central Michigan University, played 13 years of pro baseball including three stints in the Major Leagues.

He then began coaching minor league baseball in 1990 as hitting coach of the Portland Beavers, the Minnesota Twins AAA affiliate. He spent the next 23 years in baseball in many capacities and was four times named Manager of the Year, once in the AA Eastern League (2000) and three times in the AAA Pacific Coast League (2001, 2004, 2005). He also worked as an administrative coach for the Seattle Mariners in 2006.

Rohn’s most recent managing experience was with the Las Vegas 51’s, the Toronto Blue Jays AAA affiliate, in 2010.

He said to expect an aggressive style of baseball with plenty of hit-and-run plays.

"I like to force the issue," Rohn said. "I like to score early and often and fast — and hopefully more often than the other team. You'll see a lot of base running and base stealing. Hopefully we'll bring in some speed and run a little more. ... I like to put some guys in motion, put the ball in play and create some havoc. I'm not going to sit back and rely on a three-run homer."

But the Beach Bums will have some power in their lineup as well, even with the departure of Chase Burch. Former league MVP Jose Vargas returns, the team traded for All-Star third baseman Jovan Rosa and added power-hitting first baseman Yazy Arbelo, who has cranked out 78 home runs in the last four years, mostly in the Arizona Diamondbacks system.

"He's a nice left-handed hitter," Rohn said. "He's going to complement hitting behind Jose pretty well and break up our two big right-handers with Rosa and Vargas."

Rosa hit .284 with seven homers, 20 doubles and 37 RBIs for the Washington Wild Things last season, and was acquired in a trade for pitcher Scott Dunn.

The team also returns speedy outfielder Scott Woodward, second baseman Ryan Still, outfielders Sean Gusrang, Scott Cooper and Jeremy Banks and catcher Chris Cowell and Zach Kometani. The Bums also signed speedy middle infielder Rob Benedict and catcher Jacob Rhodes, who drove in 67 runs in two seasons at Murray State.

The starting rotation has Mike Devine and Ben Rawding back, and Vladimir Camacho and Kyle Teague return in the bullpen, in addition to eight other arms already signed in the off-season.

Rohn has been with the Beach Bums since 2011, when he was brought in as a special assistant. In 2013, he was promoted to bench coach when the position opened after the departure of Shannon Hunt.

Matt Pulley will return as hitting coach, and Rohn is currently looking for a pitching coach to round out the staff.

"I'd like to get someone local in Traverse City," Rohn said, not naming any names. "We'll see what happens."

Spring training starts May 2.

"We'll have to find some orange baseballs if we don't lose some of this snow," Rohn joked.