The new coaching staff has 17 years of major league baseball playing experience, 28 years of minor league baseball playing experience and over 40 combined years of coaching experience.
Pujols, 57, becomes the 12th manager in the 18-year franchise history of the Shorebirds. He replaces Ryan Minor, who was promoted to the same position with the Advanced-A Frederick Keys. Minor spent the past three seasons as the manager of the Shorebirds.
"We're extremely excited to have Luis Pujols guide the Shorebirds in 2013," said Shorebirds general manager Chris Bitters. "He brings a wealth of experience as a player and coach at both the minor league and major league levels."
Pujols, the cousin of Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim first baseman Albert Pujols, brings nine years of major league baseball playing experience to the Shorebirds. The defensive-minded catcher spent seven seasons with the Houston Astros (1977-83), one season with the Kansas City Royals (1984) and one season with the Texas Rangers (1985). In 316 career games played, he recorded 164 hits, 81 RBIs and six home runs for his career. His best offensive season came in 1981 with the Astros, when he batted .239 in 40 games played.
Pujols' coaching career began in 1993, when Felipe Alou offered him a job as the Montreal Expos first base coach. Pujols held the position through the 1999 season. In 2000, he became the bench coach for the Expos. The following season, Pujols transitioned to the minor leagues and served as the manager of the Erie SeaWolves (Double-A, Detroit Tigers). He led the SeaWolves to an 84-56 regular season and a spot in the Eastern League playoffs. In 2002, he was promoted to bench coach for the Detroit Tigers. Six games into the season, Tigers manager Phil Garner was fired and Pujols was named interim manager. His coaching career came full circle in 2003 when he rejoined forces with Felipe Alou, who was now the manager of the San Francisco Giants. Pujols served as the first base coach of the Giants from 2003-2006. The Dominican Republic native has also had stints as manager of the Corpus Christi Hooks (AA, Astros) in 2007 and was on the staff of the 2009 Dominican team in the World Baseball Classic.
The lone familiar face on the coaching staff is new hitting coach Butch Davis, who made frequent trips to Arthur W. Perdue Stadium as the Baltimore Orioles Minor League Outfield Instructor over the last seven years. The 2013 season will mark Davis' 19th season in the Orioles minor league system. Prior to becoming a roving instructor, Davis was on the coaching staff for the Bowie Baysox for three seasons. In 1999, he managed the Shorebirds, who finished 58-80. The Garner, North Carolina native started his coaching career with the Rochester Red Wings in 1995.
Prior to moving into coaching, Davis spent eight seasons roaming the outfield in the major leagues. He debuted and played two seasons for the Royals (1983-84). After a three-year hiatus from the majors, he played in seven games for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1987. Davis was a September call-up for the Orioles in 1988 and 1989. He played in 18 total games for the Orioles. He also played for the Los Angeles Dodgers (1991) and Texas Rangers (1993-94). Davis' best offensive season was his rookie year with the Royals in 1983. He hit .344 with 18 runs-batted-in over 33 games.
While with the Rangers in 1993, Davis hit the first ever inside-the-park homer at Camden Yards on August 21 against the Orioles.
Davis played in 1,440 minor league games over 13 seasons. He was a career .297 hitter in the minors.
The new Shorebirds pitching coach is Justin Lord, who replaces Troy Mattes. Lord joins the Shorebirds and Orioles organization after serving as the pitching coach for the Southern Illinois Minors of the Frontier League the last two seasons. Before taking over the staff of the Minors, Lord spent two years as the pitching coach for the Pensacola Pelicans of the American Association.
The 33-year old pitched in the Royals and Pirates systems between 2001 and 2004. In 2004, he made two starts in the South Atlantic League for the Hickory Crawdads. In 2006, he began a three-year run as a pitcher for the St. Paul Saints. In three years with the Saints, he won 20 games.
Greg Svarczkopf will serve as the Shorebirds' athletic trainer after three seasons as the strength and conditioning coach for the Bowie Baysox (AA) and last year as an athletic trainer at the Orioles' Florida complex.
The new coaching staff will lead the Shorebirds into the 2013 season on April 4 against the Hagerstown Suns.
For tickets and more information, contact the Shorebirds at 410-219-3112.
The Delmarva Shorebirds are the Class "A" Affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. The Shorebirds are owned by 7th Inning Stretch, L.P., the same company that owns the Stockton Ports of the California League and the Everett AquaSox of the Northwest League. In 2012, 231,194 fans came to Shorebirds games, the highest total attendance since 2002. The Shorebirds were the proud hosts of the 2011 South Atlantic League "Strike Out Hunger" All-Star Game presented by Perdue that drew 7,410 fans. For more information, call the Shorebirds at 410-219-3112.
The Shorebirds celebrated 17-years of professional baseball on the Eastern Shore in 2012. During the 2009 season, the Shorebirds finished with an average attendance of 3,567 fans, the largest average since the 2002 season. In 2007, The Shorebirds had the top attendance based on market size in Minor League Baseball, according to Sports Business Journal (Aug. 2008). In 2010, more than 6,000 fans packed Arthur W. Perdue Stadium nine times including a season high of 8,993 fans on August 7th. In 2012, the Shorebirds welcomed 13 crowds of over 5,000 fans.
The Shorebirds were established in 1996 by an investor team headed by legendary chicken company owner, the late Frank Perdue. The Shorebirds have called Arthur W. Perdue home ever since. For more information about the Delmarva Shorebirds call 410-219-3112 or visit www.theshorebirds.com.