SEASONED STAFF TO LEAD 2011 PELICANS
The Pelicans new era as a an affiliate of the American League Champion Texas Rangers will begin with Jason Wood, a former big league infielder, at the helm as Myrtle Beach's manager in 2011. The announcement was made by Texas Rangers Director of Player Development Scott Servais. Hitting coach Julio Garcia, pitching coach Brad Holman and athletic trainer Jeff Bodenhamer will round out the Pelicans field staff.
Wood becomes just the fourth manager in the 13-year history of the Pelicans, succeeding Pawleys Island resident and five-year Myrtle Beach skipper Rocket Wheeler, who will remain with the Atlanta Braves as their Double-A manager in 2011. Brian Snitker (1999-2001) and Randy Ingle (2002-2005) served as the first two field managers for the Myrtle Beach franchise.
Wood, who turns 41 on December 16th, brings 20 years of professional baseball experience to his first managerial assignment. The Fresno State University alumnus served as the hitting coach for the Rangers High-A team in Bakersfield (CA) last season.
"Everyone in the Rangers organization is excited about the affiliation with Myrtle Beach, and I can't wait for the challenges and rewards that managing the talented bunch of players slated to play there will bring to my career," said Wood.
An 11th round draft pick by Oakland in 1991, Wood worked his way through the minor league ranks for seven seasons before making the A's Opening Day roster in 1998. His first taste of the majors ended after a week, and he spent most of the year in Triple-A before a late season trade to the Tigers. With Detroit, he collected his first MLB base hit on September 9, 1998.
After splitting time between Toledo and Detroit in 1999, Wood spent the first six seasons of the new millennium in Triple-A before resurfacing at the big league level with the Marlins in 2006. At age 37, Wood earned a roster spot with Florida out of spring training in 2007 and played the entire season in the majors. His retirement as a player shortly after the 2008 season began led him into the coaching ranks.
The Pelicans coaching staff boasts plenty of knowledge for the first-year skipper to draw from. Julio Garcia's 23-year resume in pro ball includes 13 seasons as a minor league manager. Garcia, a 50-year-old Cuban native, returns to the Carolina League for the first time since he helped pilot the Frederick Keys in 1996. The Pioneer League honored him as its 2008 "Manager of the Year" for the Reds' affiliate in Billings (MT).
Brad Holman moves up to Myrtle Beach, along with many of the Rangers young hurlers, after the past two seasons in the same role with Low-A Hickory (NC). A draft pick of his hometown Kansas City Royals in 1990, the 6-5 right-hander cracked the big leagues with the Seattle Mariners in 1993. Since 2002, the now 42-year-old alumnus of Auburn University at Montgomery has tutored pitchers at the Single & Double-A levels. His older brother Brian also pitched in the big leagues for the Expos & Mariners.
Bodenhamer, 35, enters his seventh season with the Rangers. He tended to the medical needs of the Hickory Crawdads during the 2009 and 2010 seasons. His previous four years in the Rangers farm system included stops in Clinton (IA) and Bakersfield (CA). A native of Archdale (NC), he graduated from Greensboro College.
Season tickets, Flex Books and Mini-Plans for the 2011 Pelicans season are on sale now at the team's BB&T Coastal Field offices or by calling (843) 918-6000. The Pelicans open the 2011 season at home against the Wilmington Blue Rocks at 7:05 p.m.