(PR) (Trenton, NJ) – The Trenton Thunder, the Double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, have announced their coaching staff for the 2010 season. Tony Franklin (Manager) will be back for his fourth consecutive season in Trenton. The Thunder will have the same trio of coaches joining Franklin. Former Major Leaguers Tommy Phelps (Pitching Coach) and Frank Menechino (Hitting Coach) will continue in their respective roles for the Thunder. Also, former Eastern Leaguer Vic Valencia (Coach) will be back for his second season, and Thunder trainer Tim Lentych will return for his third season. The only new addition to the staff will be Strength and Conditioning Coach Jason Meredith.
“We are thrilled to welcome Tony and his staff back to Trenton for the upcoming season,” Thunder General Manager Will Smith said. “Since Tony has arrived in Trenton, he has made many positive contributions on the field and in the community. We are excited for his return, and hope to bring another Eastern League Championship to Trenton. ”
Franklin guided the Thunder to back-to-back Eastern League Championships in 2007 and 2008. The Thunder went 69-72 under Franklin in 2009. In 2008, the Thunder finished the regular season with the best record in the Eastern League (86-54).
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 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.
Tommy Phelps will embark on his second season as the pitching coach for the Thunder. 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. He 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 return as Trenton’s new hitting coach. This is his second season as Trenton’s hitting coach. 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 RBIs. Menechino spent time in the Yankees Minor League system with Columbus (Triple-A) in 2006. During 2008, he played professionally in Italy.
Vic Valencia re-joins 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 72 RBIs 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 third season after winning the 2009 Athletic Trainer of the Year in the Eastern League. He spent 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.
Jason Meredith has a BS in Exercise Sport Science/Athletic Training from Iowa State University and a MS in Applied Physiology and Kinesiology from University of Florida. He spent 2009 with Reading in the Phillies organization and had previously worked at a high school in the Tampa area through USF’s SMART (Sports Medicine and Athletic Related Trauma) Institute