Walbeck hired as third-base coach

Walbeck hired as third-base coach

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers hired former Major League catcher Matt Walbeck as their third-base coach on Wednesday.

Walbeck will replace Don Wakamatsu, who left the organization to become the Oakland Athletics third-base coach. He will also handle the catching instruction duties.

Walbeck led the Erie Seawolves to an 81-59 record and a first-place finish in the Southern Division of the Eastern League before losing to Akron in the semifinals. Prior to that, he had managed the West Michigan Whitecaps for three years, winning the Midwest League championship in 2004 and 2006. He was Manager of the Year in both 2006 and 2007.

"He has very good energy," said Tigers player development director Glenn Ezell. "He demands the respect from the players, and they have given him the respect. He has had a very good clubhouse. The guys know that he was sincere when he was talking about what they could do. He wasn't trying to BS anybody. He just went out and respected the player and respected the game.

"He ran a good clubhouse. You talk about a good clubhouse and you talk about chemistry and all of that, but I think the guys could trust Wally. That was the one of the things that I thought. When you can trust somebody, he's got a chance with them. That helped a lot of the guys be able to be free and easy around Wally and play as well as they could."

Walbeck spent all or part of 11 seasons in the Major Leagues with the Cubs, Tigers, Angels, Phillies and Twins, playing a total of 682 games. His hiring completes the Rangers 2008 coaching staff.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.