Coaches Lett, Debus Promoted

The Dodgers staff that returns with two notable changes. Bullpen coach Jim Lett will become manager Jim Tracy's bench coach. Lett takes over for Jim Riggleman, who left the organization to become the St. Louis Cardinals' minor-league field coordinator. Second, minor-league catching coordinator Jon Debus will join the big-league staff as Lett's replacement in the bullpen.

Lett, 54, becomes a bench coach for the third time, returning to a post he held with Cincinnati in 1996 and Toronto in 1998-99. The responsibilities of a bench coach are such that he is more or less an assistant manager without the title. He traditionally stands near the manager during games, keeping the lineup card updated and providing an extra set of eyes in the inevitable event the manager misses something.

For many bench coaches, the role is a stepping stone to a major-league managerial job. But one of the reasons Riggleman left was that he thought his new job gave him a better path to managing again.

Lett, who managed 10 years in the minors for the Reds, has no such desire.

"I don't think so," he said. "I had this job with Toronto and Cincinnati and didn't have any intentions of managing then, and that hasn't really changed. This will be a new challenge, completely different (from the bullpen) as far as getting things organized and so forth."

Bako's contract carries a $650,000 base salary, with $25,000 bonuses for each of 60, 75, 90 and 100 starts. To make room for him on the 40-man roster, the Dodgers designated outfielder Chin-Feng Chen for assignment, meaning he will be outrighted to the minors if he clears waivers.

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