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Ex-Herd skipper Brown, Sandberg to coach all-stars

Las Vegas 51s manager Marty Brown, who directed the Buffalo Bisons to the 2004 International League championship, and Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg headline the coaching staffs announced Thursday for the Triple-A All-Star Game to be played July 11 in Coca-Cola Field.

Brown, in his second year with Las Vegas of the Toronto chain, will manage the Pacific Coast League team. The International League manager will be Columbus' Mike Sarbaugh, who has led the Clippers to back-to-back titles in both the IL and the Triple-A National Championship Game. Sandberg, who led Lehigh Valley to its first playoff berth last season after leaving the Chicago Cubs organization and moving to the Philadelphia chain, will serve as an IL coach along with Pawtucket manager Arnie Beyeler.

Brown managed the Bisons from 2003-05, taking the team to the playoffs the last two years in that span. His 2004 team, led by the likes of IL MVP Jhonny Peralta, Grady Sizemore and Brandon Phillips, won Buffalo's third league championship of the modern era while the 2005 club lost a five-game IL semifinal series to Indianapolis.

Brown then managed the next five seasons in Japan before returning to the United States in 2011. He represented the Bisons as the IL manager in the 2005 game at Sacramento and was the National League starting third baseman in the inaugural game in Buffalo in 1988 while playing for the Nashville Sounds in the Cincinnati farm system.

Brown's PCL assistants are both former Bisons — Fresno hitting coach Russ Morman and Memphis pitching coach Blake Ilsley. Morman played for the Bisons in 1985, ‘86 and ‘93. His .902 career OPS with the Bisons is the fourth-highest in the modern era and he is tied for 10th in career home runs (42). In his lone season at Coca-Cola Field (‘93), Morman led the Bisons in average (.320), home runs (22) and RBIs (77).

Ilsley posted a 2.19 ERA in nine relief appearances for Buffalo in 1997 and earned the save in a 2-1 win over Iowa in Game One of the American Association finals. The Bisons swept the series in three straight games to win their first league title since 1961.

Sarbaugh will become the first man to manage in the game in back-to-back years. He directed the IL's 3-0 victory last year in Salt Lake City, ensuring the league's home-field advantage in the Triple-A title game that goes to the winner.

Buffalo trainer Joe Golia will serve in that role for the IL team, just as Herd trainer Carlos Ledezma represented the National League in 1988. The PCL trainer will be Colorado Springs' Heath Townsend.

In the latest fan balloting for the game, Buffalo designated hitter Valentino Pascucci and shortstop Omar Quintanilla continue to lead at their positions. Matt Tuiasosopo is one of three outfielders leading while starting pitcher Matt Harvey and closer Fernando Cabrera are both second (two will be named via vote in each category). The IL said the closest race is at starting pitcher between Lehigh Valley's Tyler Cloyd and Harvey, and the overall voting leader is Columbus outfielder Matt LaPorta.

email: mharrington@buffnews.com