Tony! Tony! Tony! Franklin’s Back For ’09 (UPDATED)

(PR) The Trenton Thunder, the Double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, have announced that Tony Franklin will be back for his third season as Manager. He will have a trio of new coaches join his staff including former Major Leaguers Tommy Phelps (Pitching Coach) and Frank Menechino (Hitting Coach) and former Eastern Leaguer Vic Valencia (Coach). Returning to the Thunder dugout will be Trainer Tim Lentych for his second season with Trenton.

Franklin has guided the Thunder to back-to-back Eastern League Championships, which are the first two titles in franchise history. The Thunder finished the regular season with the best record in the Eastern League (86-54) for the second straight season. Trenton defeated the Portland Sea Dogs (Double-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox) in the Northern Division Championship Series (3-0), and the Akron Aeros (Double-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians) in the Eastern League Championship Series (3-1).

The 2008 Eastern League Championship was Franklin’s third title as manager. In 1993, he led South Bend (Single-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox) to the Midwest League Championship. Prior to his time in Trenton, Franklin spent most of the last 11 years as the Minor League Infield Instructor for the San Diego Padres. His 13-year managerial career began with the White Sox organization as the manager for Geneva (NY) of the New York-Penn League in 1982.

Franklin spent four seasons in Geneva, making the playoffs in 1985. After one season with Wytheville (Appalachian League), he guided the White Sox affiliate in the Florida State League, the Sarasota White Sox, to a playoff appearance in 1989. Franklin spent two years as the skipper of the Birmingham Barons of the Southern League, including 81 wins in 1991 and a berth in the Championship Series.

While in Birmingham, Franklin was the manager of former Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson. Before Trenton, his last managerial stint came with Las Vegas in 2000. Franklin filled in for Duane Espy and guided the Stars to a 43-50 mark.

Franklin was honored by San Diego in 1997 with the Jack Krol Award for Outstanding Minor League Instruction in the Padres’ organization. He and his wife, Haiba, have three children Derrick, Wayne and Shelby.

Franklin becomes just the second Thunder manager to have a three year tenure with the club. DeMarlo Hale managed Trenton for the 1997-1999 seasons.

Tommy Phelps will embark on his first season as a pitching coach. In 2008, he was the Yankees Minor League Rehabilitation Pitching Coach. Phelps is a former Major League pitcher, and also has spent time in the Yankees Minor League System. He pitched for the Florida Marlins in 2003 and 2004. During 2003, he went 3-2 with a 4.00 ERA in 27 games (seven starts) for Florida and was part of a Marlins team that won the World Series over the Yankees. He pitched in 29 games for Milwaukee in 2005. He went 7-4 with a 4.45 ERA in 2006 with Columbus (Triple-A affiliate of the New York Yankees). Phelps was originally an 8th round pick by Montreal in the 1992 draft.

Frank Menechino will be Trenton’s new hitting coach. This will be his first coaching position. Menechino played for the Oakland Athletics (1999-2003), and the Toronto Blue Jays (2004-2005). Menechino had his best season with the Athletics in 2001. He hit .242 in a career-high 139 games with 12 home runs and 60 RBI. Menechino spent some time in the Yankees Minor League System with Columbus (Triple-A) in 2006. During 2008, he played professionally in Italy.

Vic Valencia will join the staff as a coach. He played in the Yankees Minor League System from 1995-2000. During 1999 and 2000, he spent time with Norwich (Double-A). In 1999, he hit 22 home runs and contributed with 72 RBI for the Navigators. He also played in the Eastern League with Akron (2003-04) and New Hampshire (2004).

Tim Lentych returns to Trenton for his second season, after the prior three seasons as the trainer for the Charleston RiverDogs (Low-A affiliate of the New York Yankees). In 2004, he began his stint with the Yankees organization as the trainer for the Staten Island Yankees (New York-Penn League). Lentych received his B.S. from Ball State University in 2002, and his M.S. from the University of Tennessee in 2004. He has completed internships in athletic training with the Baltimore Orioles in 2001, and the Tennessee Smokies (former Double-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals) in 2003.

UPDATE — Scranton has named their field staff as well, here’s their release…which includes Scott Aldred and Lee Tressel moving on from Trenton.

(PR) The New York Yankees have announced the 2009 Triple-A field staff and it contains some familiar names as well as some new faces. Dave Miley, who led the Yankees to the 2008 Governors’ Cup returns as manager along with hitting coach Butch Wynegar and trainer Darren London. Scott Aldred is the Yankees new pitching coach replacing Rafael Chaves, who has taken a position with the Los Angeles Dodgers as the organizations minor league pitching coordinator. Aaron Ledesma is Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s new infield coach taking over for Alvaro Espinosa whose contract was not renewed by New York. Lee Tressel will join the staff in 2009 as strength and conditioning coach.

“We’re excited to have Dave Miley coming back as manager of the Yankees in 2009,” said SWB Yankees Executive Vice President and General Manager Jeremy Ruby. “Anytime you can bring back a manager who led your team to a championship as well as the best record in the league, you can’t help but be excited. Dave has been great to work with over the past two seasons and we look forward to another successful season with him guiding the team.”

Miley, enters his fourth season guiding the Yankees’ Triple-A club, the first with the Columbus Clippers (2006) and the previous two with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Prior to joining the Yankees, Miley spent 26 seasons in the Cincinnati Reds’ organization, including three seasons (2003-2005) as the big league manager in Cincinnati.

Under Miley’s guidance, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre has posted the best record (172-115) in the International League over the past two seasons, including winning the 2008 Governors’ Cup as league champions. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre tied Louisville for the IL’s best record in 2008 at 88-56, becoming just the fifth franchise in the International League’s 125 year history to post the league’s top mark in at least three consecutive seasons. In his inaugural season with SWB, Miley led the club to a league best 84-59 record and a berth in the International League Governors’ Cup Playoffs and was named the International League Manager of the Year.

“I’m excited about coming back to the Yankees in 2009 to help defend the Governors’ Cup,” said Miley. “Being able to bring a championship to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre last season was tremendous. The great regular season and the run we had through the playoffs and all of the great fan support made it a fantastic year. I’m looking forward to another great season in 2009. The coaching staff that Mark Newman (NY Yankees Director of Player Development) and the Yankees have put together is tremendous and will help make my job easier.”

2009 will be Miley’s ninth season in the International League, where he has posted a record of 685-569 (.546). In three seasons as skipper of the Yankees top farm club Miley’s record is 241-188 (.562). Miley also spent six seasons in the IL from 1998 through 2003 with Indianapolis and Louisville. In four seasons at Louisville, he went 296-245 (.547) and established franchise records for wins and games managed (541). In 2001 he guided Louisville to its first Governors’ Cup Championship over the former Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons.

In his minor league managerial career which spans 17 seasons, Miley has an overall record of 1,356-973 (.566) with an impressive 15 winning seasons. As a player, he was signed by the Reds in 1980 and spent seven seasons as a minor league catcher batting .238 with 16 HR and 172 RBI.

HITTING COACH – BUTCH WYNEGAR

Wynegar will be in his third season with the Yankees. Prior to joining Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, he spent four seasons as the Milwaukee Brewers hitting coach and played 13 seasons with the Twins, Yankees and Angels.

Under his guidance, the 2008 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees placed in the top six in the IL in several team offensive categories including runs, hits, homers, RBI’s and BB. In 2007 with Wynegar at the helm, the Yankees led the International League in runs scored.

While with Milwaukee his pupils put up some impressive numbers. In 2003 the Brewers’ offense was 3rd in the National League with 194 home runs and in 2005 they tied a NL record with 571 extra-base hits. Prior to joining the Brewers, he was a manager in the Texas Rangers system from 1995-1997 and the Minor League Roving Hitting Instructor from 1998-2002.

As a player, the two-time American League All-Star played in 1,301 major league games compiling a .255 average with 65 HR and 506 RBI. In 1976 he was named The Sporting News American League Rookie of the Year and became the youngest player at the time to appear in an All-Star Game (20 years, 212 days). While with the Yankees he caught Dave Righetti’s no-hitter on July 4, 1983 and Phil Niekro’s 300th victory October 1, 1985.

PITCHING COACH – SCOTT ALDRED

Aldred begins his fourth year as a professional coach in the Yankees minor league system and his first as pitching coach with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. In 2008, Aldred’s Trenton Thunder pitching staff led the Eastern League in ERA (3.13) for the second consecutive year on route to the league title. In his debut season as a coach in 2006, he guided the Single-A Charleston pitching staff to the second-best ERA in the South Atlantic League (3.20).

Originally drafted and signed by the Detroit Tigers in 1987, he made his Major League debut with the Tigers in 1990. Aldred appeared in 229 games over an 11-year Major League career, posting a 20-39 record with a 6.02 ERA with six different teams (Detroit, 1990-92, ’96; Colorado, 1993; Montreal, 1993; Minnesota, 1996-97; Tampa Bay, 1998-99; Philadelphia, 1999-2000).

INFIELD COACH – AARON LEDESMA

Ledesma will be in his first season with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and his second in professional coaching after serving as hitting coach for the single-A Tampa Yankees in 2008. Originally a second round selection by the New York Mets in the 1990 Amateur Draft, he made his Major League debut with the Mets in 1995. Ledesma hit .296 with 38 doubles, 4 triples 2 HR and 76 RBI appearing in 284 big league games over five seasons with the Mets, Baltimore, Tampa Bay and Colorado.

His lone full season in the Majors came in 1998 with the Devil Rays after he was selected in the third round of the 1997 Major League Expansion Draft from Baltimore. Ledesma led Tampa Bay with a .324 average (97-299) appearing in 95 games and playing all four infield positions.

During his minor league career, he appeared in the International League with Norfolk (1994-1995); Rochester (1997) And Durham (1999). He earned Junior College All-American honors at Chabot College in 1990.

ATHLETIC TRAINER – DARREN LONDON

London will be entering his 17th season as the Yankees’ Triple-A Athletic Trainer and 20th in the Yankees’ organization. He began his career in 1989 working at Class-A Prince William his first two seasons. He was promoted to Class-A Ft. Lauderdale in 1991 and Class-AA Albany in 1992.

He joined the Columbus Clippers in 1993 and during his stint in Columbus was named the 2006 “International League Athletic Trainer of the Year,” by the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (PBATS). He is a graduate of the University of Maine-Orono where he earned a BS in physical education with a coaching minor.

STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING COACH – LEE TRESSEL

Tressel joins Scranton/Wilkes-Barre as strength and conditioning coach after spending the 2008 season in a similar position with the Yankees double-A affiliate in Trenton.

Prior to working in Trenton, Tressel served as the strength and conditioning coordinator at the Yankees minor league complex in Tampa, Florida. He also served for three seasons (2004-06) as an assistant in the Yankees’ baseball operations department under General Manager Brian Cashman. Tressel graduated from Baldwin Wallace College in Berea, Ohio in 2003 with a degree in sports management and business.

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6 Responses to “Tony! Tony! Tony! Franklin’s Back For ’09 (UPDATED)”

  1. mbn007 Says:

    Menechino is a guy I wanted the Yankees to get several times over his Major League career. I though he was one of those guys who would be a good fit, and a solid piece off the bench.

    Glad Tony is returning. Can’t argue with the results. Back to back championships. With very different players each time.

    I remember Phelps pitching just a couple of seasons ago. He sure latched on to a good job real quick.

  2. Dave S. Says:

    Welcome back Tony! Glad to have Frank Menechino also!

  3. Thunderstruck Says:

    Mike – have a nice holiday and thanks for all that you do, wishing you all the best in 2009.

  4. EBYanks Says:

    I know this is changing the subject, But were you able to get any info from Yankee management on Jorge Vazquez?? I would think if he was more then a organizational filler we would have heard something. I believe he is in his late 20’s?? Could you see if during this slow time someone will give you some REAL info on the guy other then #’s?? THANKS!!

  5. tdevils Says:

    Thunderstruck — Thank you and you’re welcome, all in the same sentence haha…but I do appreciate your sentiments.

    EBYanks — I’ll see what I can do with Vazquez, but I wouldn’t exactly hold your breath on that one. Outside of numbers, I know zilch.

  6. Northrop Says:

    Great staff. Mike, be bold enough to predict the opening day starting line up.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New year to all.

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