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December 22, 2017 - International League (IL) - Lehigh Valley IronPigs News Release

The 13-Year Major Leaguer Joins Returning Staffers Lundquist, Rende, May and Lien

(Allentown, Pa.) - Former Phillies infielder Wes Helms will join the IronPigs as a bench coach, as the team's 2018 coaching staff was announced by the Phillies today. First-year manager Gary Jones will work alongside four returning members in pitching coach Dave Lundquist, hitting coach Sal Rende, athletic trainer Jon May and strength and conditioning coach Dong Lien.

Wes Helms, 41, returns to professional baseball after a seven-year hiatus to make his coaching debut. A member of the Phillies National League East Championship team in 2007, the Gastonia, N.C., native enjoyed a 13-year major league playing career that ended following the 2011 season. He was originally drafted by Atlanta in the 10th round of the 1994 Draft out of Ashbrook (N.C.) High School before making his big league debut with the Braves in 1998. Helms went on to appear in 1,212 games and finished with a career .256 average, 75 home runs and 374 RBI between Atlanta (1998; 2000-02), Milwaukee (2003-05), Florida (2006; 2008-11) and Philadelphia (2007).

Helms was the Phillies' Opening Day third baseman during a 2007 season in which Philadelphia became the first team in MLB history to overcome a seven-game deficit with 17 left to play, overtaking the Mets for the National League East championship on the final day of the season. He hit .246 with five home runs and 39 RBI in 112 contests (65 starts) before being traded to Florida prior to the start of the 2008 campaign.

Helms is also a familiar name in International League circles, having spent parts of six seasons between Richmond (1997-98; 2000), Indianapolis (2003-04) and Gwinnett (2011). He twice earned the Tommie Aaron Memorial Award -- which honors the Richmond Braves MVP - in 1998 (.275-13-75 in 125 games) and in 2000 (.288-20-88 in 136 games), when he also was selected as the Hank Aaron Award winner as the top performer in the entire Atlanta system.

Helms, who replaces another former Phillies infielder Charlie Hayes on the IronPigs staff, appeared with Philadelphia as a special guest Spring Training instructor in 2017.

Dave Lundquist, 44, returns for his third season as IronPigs pitching coach. In 2017, he guided a staff that posted the third-highest shutout total in the league (15) while converting the highest number of saves (44). He also oversaw the rapid development of several young prospects - including the IL's starting pitcher in the 2017 Triple-A All-Star Game, Tom Eshelman. In 2016, the native of Beverly, Mass., orchestrated a pitching staff that shattered franchise records for wins (85; previously 80 in 2011), ERA (3.12; previously 3.68 in 2011) and shutouts (18; previously 12 in 2011-13). Lundquist enters his 11th season in the Philadelphia organization and his 14th overall as a pitching coach.

Now entering his eighth season with the IronPigs, hitting coach Sal Rende boasted an offense that annihilated the franchise single-season record with 152 home runs last year (previously 122 in 2016). The 62-year-old also played a significant role in the growth of IL Most Valuable Player Rhys Hoskins and several other prospects that continued to perform well after promotion - most notably Jorge Alfaro, J.P. Crawford and Nick Williams. In 2016, the native of Blue Island, Ill., guided a Lehigh Valley offense that set a then club-record for home runs (122) while finishing second in the IL in average with a franchise-best .284 average with runners in scoring position. Rende embarks on his 15th season in the Phillies organization and 12th as an affiliate hitting coach.

Jon May, 38, will return for his fourth season as IronPigs athletic trainer and 12th as a member of the Phillies organization.

In addition, Dong Lien, 38, is back for fifth season as the IronPigs strength and conditioning coordinator and his 12th in the Philadelphia system.

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