For the first time in four seasons, the Chattanooga Lookouts will have a new field manager for the 2013 season as former Red Sox infielder Jody Reed moves up from his instructor's job to replace Carlos Subero, who was 215-201 in his three seasons with the Lookouts, including two straight trips into postseason play.
Reed, who was twice named Manager of the Year in short-season leagues, was the Dodgers' minor league infield instructor for the 2012 season.
Another well-known former major leaguer will be making his Southern League managerial debut in 2013 for Pensacola (Reds). Delino DeShields, Sr., whose son is an Astros prospect, moves up to replace Jim Riggleman after two seasons at perennially sold-out Dayton. Former Cubs and Nationals skipper Riggleman takes over Class AAA Louisville after one season in the Reds' System.
But perhaps even bigger shoes to fill are at Mobile (Diamondbacks), where Turner Ward moves up the major league coaching staff as associate hitting coach after winning back-to-back Southern League pennants in 2011-12 in his two seasons as manager. Ward, who was also named SL Manager of the Year in 2011, will be replaced by another pennant winner, as Andy Green claimed the Pioneer League championship with Missoula.
The league's other newbie is Birmingham's Julio Vinas, who was promoted from Kannapolis of the South Atlantic League. He replaces Bobby Magallanes, who helmed the Barons for each of the last two seasons. Magallanes will be staying in the South, however, as he has been assigned by the White Sox to manage the Bristol club in 2013.
The dean of the current crop of Southern League managers, Billy Gardner, Jr., heads the six returning skippers for the 2013 Southern League season. Gardner Jr. is back for his 7th season at Montgomery. Gardner, whose father was named Manager of the Year in the Southern League in 1973 (with Jacksonville), is part of the only such father-son award tandem. Gardner Jr. won a SL pennant in 2007.
The other returning skippers include Buddy Bailey at Tennessee, back for his third season for the Cubs' farm club. But Bailey is truly the Southern League's elder statesman, as he managed the Greenville Braves from 1988-90.
He is joined by Jackson's Jim Pankovits, back for his third year; former Chattanooga player Darnell Coles, who will be back in Huntsville for a second year; Jacksonville's Andy Barkett, returning for his third season; and the Mississippi Braves' Aaron Holbert, fresh from a managerial stint in the Arizona Fall League, returning to Pearl for a second season.