(Greensboro, NC) The Florida Marlins announced Thursday that the 2006 Grasshoppers field staff will again be anchored by second-year manager, Brandon Hyde. The announcement was made by Marlins Vice President of Player Development and Scouting and Assistant General Manager Jim Fleming.
Joining Hyde will be hitting coach Josue Espada, returning pitching coach Stephen Foster and athletic trainer Ben Heimos.
HydeÂ¹s Grasshoppers went 67-71 last season and developed several young prospects, including pitcher Jason Vargas. Prior to his managerial tenure, Hyde spent two seasons as GreensboroÂ¹s hitting coach and was a coach for Long Beach State University, his alma mater. Hyde signed with the Chicago White Sox in 1997 as a free agent and played in the organization through 2001.
Espada, a 1996 second-round pick by the Oakland Athletics, has over nine years professional baseball experience d will replace Bo Porter as the hitting coach. Josue played at the University of Mobile from 1993-96 where he was a three-time All-Conference selection and named the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Player of the Year in 1995.
Entering his second season as a minor league coach, Foster returns to Greensboro after a successful campaign last season. He was drafted in the 12th round of the 1988 amateur draft by the Cincinnati Reds and made his Major League debut with the club in 1991, boasting a 2.41 career ERA.
Heimos, a 2002 graduate of the University of Evansville, enters his first season with the Marlins organization and will take over athletic training duties for the Grasshoppers.
Â³We are extremely pleased to have Brandon and Stephen back this season,Â² said Grasshoppers President Donald Moore. Â³They are outstanding leaders in the clubhouse and on the field, and give a tremendous amount of themselves to the community. Josue and Ben will be great additions to the staff and we ook forward to seeing what the upcoming season brings.Â²
Season tickets are now on sale for the 2006 season. For more information, please contact the Grasshoppers office at 336.268.BALL or visit www.gsohoppers.com. The Hoppers open the 2006 season April 6 against the Hagerstown Suns.