The Dragons announced in December that Jose Nieves will join the team as manager for the upcoming season while Tony Fossas will serve as pitching coach. The Dragons coaching staff is assigned by the Cincinnati Reds.
Pelaez will enter his fifth year as a hitting coach in the Reds organization in 2013. He served as the hitting coach at Billings in 2010 and held the same position with the Gulf Coast League Reds in 2009.
In 2012 with the Dragons, Pelaez (puh-LY-uz) was instrumental in the development of Steve Selsky, the Reds Minor League Batter of the Year. Selsky spent the first half of the 2012 season with the Dragons before earning a promotion to Bakersfield. Eight hitters from the Dragons 2012 roster were promoted to a higher level during the course of the season. In 2011 under Pelaez's guidance, the Dragons led the Midwest League in team batting average and runs scored while breaking the club record for highest team batting average. During his time in Dayton, Pelaez has contributed to the development of many of the Reds top hitting prospects including Billy Hamilton, Donald Lutz, David Vidal, Kyle Waldrop, Yorman Rodriguez, Ryan Wright, and Sean Buckley among others.
Pelaez played in the Major Leagues with the San Diego Padres in 2002 as a third baseman. He spent eight years in the Minor Leagues from 1998-2005, posting a career batting average of .292 while topping the .300 mark four times. He was an all-star selection in three seasons and spent his last four years at the Triple-A level. He closed out his playing career with the Reds Louisville affiliate. Pelaez played at San Diego State University where he was a two-time all Western Athletic Conference selection and was a teammate of former Reds pitcher Aaron Harang.
Nieves, Pelaez, and Fossas combine for 42 years of professional baseball playing experience including 18 years in the Major Leagues. They also combine for 11 years of coaching experience in the Reds organization.
Nieves enjoyed a five-year Major League playing career as a shortstop and second baseman. He spent parts of three seasons with the Chicago Cubs from 1998-2000 and spent the 2001-'02 seasons with the Anaheim Angels.
Fossas returns to the Dragons after serving as the Dayton pitching coach for three seasons from 2009-2011. In 2011 with the Dragons, Fossas oversaw a pitching staff that emerged as the best in Dragons history. The 2011 Dragons hurlers broke the all-time Midwest League record for strikeouts in a season and broke the franchise record for best ERA while leading the league in ERA, strikeouts, shutouts, and fewest runs allowed. Fossas spent 12 years in the Major Leagues as a left-handed relief pitcher. He appeared in 567 games, mostly with the Red Sox, Cardinals, and Brewers. His professional career spanned 21 seasons until his retirement in 1999 at the age of 41.
The Dragons open their 14th season in the Midwest League on April 4 at West Michigan with opening night at Fifth Third Field set for April 11.