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Louisville Bats

Posting winning records over the last six seasons wasn't enough for Rick Sweet to keep his job.

In a surprise move, the Louisville Bats announced earlier this week that they had replaced the Longview native with ex-Major Leaguer David Bell as the team's manager.

In a press release from the Cincinnati Reds, Bill Bavasi, the Reds' vice president of scouting, player development and international operations, said the managerial change for the Reds' Triple-A affiliate was an organizational decision and declined to elaborate.

"He did a terrific job," Bavasi said in a story in the Louisville Courier-Journal newspaper. "He was real good with the players, with the front office, with the community. He was very successful there. No complaints there."

Bavasi also noted Sweet will remain in the Reds' organization as a roving instructor, working with catchers.

Cincinnati is loaded with catching prospects with Devin Mesoraco, a first-round draft choice in 2007, and Yasmani Grandal, a 2010 first-round pick.

Sweet, 59, had been in charge in Louisville since 2005, and had managed the Bats to winning records in the last six seasons including a 73-71 mark at the end of 2011. With a 539-465 record, Sweet is the all-time winningest manager in Louisville franchise history. He also guided the Bats to three straight International League West Division titles (2008-10).

Sweet began managing in 1987 and owns a career mark of 1,588-1,520 in 23 seasons.

Bell, 39, managed the Reds' Double-A Carolina affiliate the past three seasons where he has compiled a 176-239 record.

"We think David's ready to move," Bavasi said. "He's been in Double-A for a few years. He's done a real good job there."

Earlier this month, Sweet was hired as manager of Leones del Caracas, one of the most popular baseball teams in Venezuela. He previously managed another of Venezuela's top baseball teams, Navegantes del Magallanes for the 1991-92 and 92-93 campaigns where he compiled a 70-49 record.

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