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Hot Rods' Sandberg calls on experience

Peruse the field staffs of the 16 teams in the Midwest League and former major leaguers abound.

Many managers, pitching coaches and hitting coaches all have been to the bigs before. Drawing on that experience is an invaluable clubhouse tool.

For Bowling Green – the Cougars' opponent for three games beginning Wednesday – the recency effect of some of its coaches stands out. Manager Jared Sandberg and pitching coach Kyle Snyder both are 35. Both ascended to "The Show" and have only been away from it for a handful of seasons.

"There's a level of trust and respect from players that they know what we've done and we've reached the goal that they're trying to reach," said Sandberg, the nephew of Hall of Famer and former Cubs great Ryne Sandberg. "We're still young in coaching. We don't know everything, you know. So we're trying to learn every single day, which in turn teaches them, the players, that they need to learn something new every day.

"But, yeah, we definitely lean on our playing experience. I think just being removed from playing allows us to relate to the players a little better, and the one thing that we continue to talk about is we've never forgotten how hard this game is. So we encourage these guys to make mistakes and learn from them."

Cougars manager Mark Johnson, a catcher, and pitching coach Ron Villone also are former major leaguers.

– Kevin Druley, kdruley@shawmedia.com

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