CURVE, Pa. - P.J. Forbes, who led Lynchburg to the Carolina League championship in 2009 and Bradenton to the playoffs last season, will be the manager of the Altoona Curve in 2011, the Pittsburgh Pirates announced earlier today. Forbes becomes the sixth manager in team history returns to managing in the Eastern League for the first time since 2008. He'll be joined in Altoona by pitching coach Wally Whitehurst, hitting coach Brandon Moore, athletic trainer Mike Zalno, and strength/conditioning coach Ricky White.
Forbes, 43, enters his third season in the Pirates' organization and has made the playoffs in each of his two previous years. In 2009, he led the Lynchburg Hillcats to a 73-66 regular season record, a first half division title, and the Carolina League championship. Last season in Bradenton, Forbes led the Marauders to a 76-62 overall record and a second-half title, despite several key players missing time due to injuries. Bradenton lost to Charlotte in the first round of the Florida State League playoffs. In his two seasons with the Pirates, Forbes has a combined record of 149-128.
Prior to his time with the Pirates, Forbes managed in the Philadelphia Phillies' organization from 2004-08. He spent two seasons as the skipper at Low-A Lakewood (South Atlantic League) before he took the reins at Double-A Reading from 2006-08.
As a player, Forbes was selected in the 21st round of the 1990 draft by the California Angels and made his Major League debut on July 21, 1998 as a member of the Baltimore Orioles. All told, the Wichita State product played in 12 Major League games and spent 13 years playing professional baseball between the Angels', Orioles', Phillies' and Rangers' organizations.
Whitehurst, a former Major League pitcher with the New York Mets, San Diego Padres and New York Yankees, will begin his first stint in Double-A after serving as the pitching coach for the Pirates' High-A affiliates the past two seasons. Last season in Bradenton, the Marauders posted the fourth-best ERA in the 12-team Florida State League under the tutelage of Whitehurst.
Bradenton saw two of its starters promoted to Double-A in Bryan Morris and Jeff Locke before the middle of July in 2010. Starting pitcher Aaron Pribanic placed ninth in the league with a 3.33 ERA while Nate Adcock was tied for the second most wins in the league with 11.
The Louisiana native was a third-round pick of the Oakland Athletics in 1985 and posted a big league record of 20-37 in 163 career games (66 starts). He made his Major League debut on July 17, 1989 for the Mets and earned his first win on July 5, 1990.
Prior to his time with the Pirates, Whitehurst was a pitching coach in the San Diego Padres' organization for five seasons.
Moore returns to Altoona for his second stint as the Curve's hitting coach and 2011 will be his fourth overall season with the club. He served as the team's hitting coach from 2006-08 before taking on the same role with the State College Spikes the past two seasons. The Curve made the Eastern League playoffs in Moore's first season (2006) and he mentored several hitters who have gone on to play in the Major Leagues including Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker, Nyjer Morgan, Steve Pearce, and Jose Tabata. A native of Altoona, Ala., 2011 marks Moore's seventh season in the Pirates' system and his 11th season overall as a minor league instructor.
A product of Auburn University, Moore still ranks among the school's all-time leaders in hits (304), singles (245), games played (242) and at bats (917). He was also the first player in SEC history to have both 300 hits and 900 at bats in his career.
Zalno is a native to the area as the 34-year-old was born in nearby Clearfield and makes his offseason home in State College. A New York-Penn League Athletic Trainer of the Year in 2009, Zalno will be making his debut in Altoona in 2011 and it will be his ninth overall season with the Pittsburgh organization.
He graduated from Duquesne University in 2000 with a bachelor's degree in athletic training and a minor in psychology. After completing his undergraduate work, Zalno earned his master's degree in sports administration in 2001 from Eastern Kentucky University.
White enters his second season in the Pirates' organization and first with the Curve. He spent the 2010 season as the strength coach for the West Virginia Power (South Atlantic League). White is a graduate of Fresno State with a bachelor's degree in liberal arts and a master's degree in kinesiology. During his time at Fresno State, White was also a member of the Bulldogs' football team.
He was an assistant strength coach within the Chicago White Sox organization during the 1997 season and he also spent the 1999 campaign with Omaha in the Kansas City Royals' organization.
In addition to announcing Altoona's coaching staff, the Pirates also announced the minor league field staff for all of their affiliates. Dean Treanor, who was the pitching coach for the Curve in 2009, has been named the manager of Triple-A Indianapolis and he will be joined by Tom Filer, Bryan Housand and Chad Uihlein, who were all a part of the 2010 Curve staff. Ryan Long, the Curve's hitting coach in 2010, will be the hitting coach for High-A Bradenton.
Four members of the 2010 Eastern League Champion Altoona Curve and former Pittsburgh Steelers' players and current broadcasters Tunch Ilkin and Craig Wolfley will headline the Curve's annual Spring Training Festival on Friday, January 28, 2011 at the Blair County Convention Center. The event will be "A Salute to Champions" as the Curve will pay tribute the 2010 championship team and bring back first baseman Matt Hague, infielder Josh Harrison, Pirates' Minor League Player of the Year Alex Presley and E.L. Playoff MVP Justin Wilson as guests of honor. Ilkin and Wolfley, better known to Steelers' fans as "Tunch and Wolf", will also be on hand as special guests the weekend before the Super Bowl.
For more information and to purchase tickets, call 877-99-CURVE, visit the Curve Holiday Store in the Logan Valley Mall (lower level near Santa), stop by Blair County Ballpark during normal business hours, or log on to www.altoonacurve.com.