Louisville, KY - The Louisville Bats have extended their Player Development Contract (PDC) with the Cincinnati Reds through 2010. This extends the previous agreement which was set to expire following the 2008 baseball season. Louisville will also return Rick Sweet and his entire Bats coaching staff for the 2007 season.
"We are very pleased about the extension of our affiliation with Louisville. Our relationship with the Bats organization has been outstanding and we look forward to having them as an integral part of the Reds family for years to come," said Reds Assistant Director of Player Development Grant Griesser. "We are also excited about returning a field staff with as much experience and knowledge as this one has. Rick Sweet does a great job not only managing games, but also handling veteran Triple-A players as well as young up and coming prospects."
The 2007 season will mark the Bats eighth season as the Triple-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, as well as the eighth season of play at Louisville Slugger Field. Louisville Slugger Field will celebrate its five millionth fan through the gates during the 2007 season and will host the Meijer Triple-A All-Star Game in 2008.
"We have a tremendous relationship with the Reds and hope to be their Triple-A affiliate for many years to come," added Bats President Gary Ulmer.
Sweet, 54, is 141-146 in two seasons as the Bats skipper and is in fifth place on Louisville's career managerial list. Following a nine-year playing career (1975-83) as a catcher, including three seasons in the Majors with San Diego, New York-NL and Seattle, Sweet began managing in 1987 and owns a career mark of 1,190-1,201 in 18 seasons.
Adrian "Smokey" Garrett returns for his fifth consecutive season as Louisville's hitting coach. Garrett played 19 years of professional baseball (1961-79), including parts of eight seasons in the Majors with Atlanta, Chicago-NL, Oakland and California.
Former Redbird Ted Power returns for his second season as Louisville's pitching coach. He began the 2006 season as the Reds pitching rehabilitation coordinator, but took over for Mario Soto as Bats pitching coach last May. Power enjoyed a 13-year Major League career, including five seasons (1983-87) with Cincinnati.
Louisville native Jay Sorg will return for his third season as the team's first base coach to round out Sweet's coaching staff. Chris Lapole returns as head trainer for his third season in Louisville and ninth in the Reds organization. Gabriel Moreno is the only newcomer as he joins the Bats staff as strength and conditioning coach for 2007.
Louisville will begin the 2007 campaign on Thursday, April 5 against the defending International League champion Toledo Mud Hens at 7:05 p.m. at Louisville Slugger Field. Season tickets are available now by calling the Bats office at (502) 212-2287 or visiting www.batsbaseball.com on the web.