FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Fort Myers Miracle, in conjunction with the Minnesota Twins, are pleased to announce the return of 12-year Major League veteran Doug Mientkiewicz as the manager for the 2014 season.
Mientkiewicz, 39, enters his second season at the helm in Fort Myers and is the reigning Florida State League Manager of the Year. In 2013, Mientkiewicz led the Miracle to the best record in the Florida State League with a 79-56 mark and a FSL South Division first-half championship. In the first half, the Miracle posted a 45-22 record. The first-half winning percentage of .672 was the best in team history, and the 45 wins matched the most in a half.
"I am really looking forward to coming back for another year in Fort Myers," said Mientkiewicz. "Hopefully, we can build on what we did last year."
In 2012, Mientkiewicz spent the year in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization as the hitting coach for the Ogden Raptors of the Pioneer League. Over a 12-year career at the Major League level, Mientkiewicz appeared in 1,087 games from 1998-2009. Mientkiewicz suited up for the Minnesota Twins, Boston Red Sox, New York Mets, Kansas City Royals, New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates and the Dodgers.
"Last season, Doug and his coaching staff brought us first-place professionalism and a lot to cheer about from the very first pitch," said Miracle general manager Andrew Seymour. "We're pleased to have Doug and his family back with us and we're looking forward to our 2014 Miracle season"
Drafted by the Twins out of Florida State University in the fifth round in 1995, Mientkiewicz made his professional debut with the Miracle the same season. He played parts of two years in a Miracle jersey and appeared in 171 games in 1995 and 1996.
In 2013, Mientkiewicz and the Miracle coaching staff worked with two of the top three prospects in professional baseball. Byron Buxton, the top-rated prospect, split the season between Class A Cedar Rapids and Fort Myers. Buxton was named Baseball America and Topps Minor League Player of the Year. Miguel Sano was tabbed as the third-best prospect and hit .330 with 16 home runs in 56 games with the Miracle before moving up to Double-A New Britain.
"The Twins have a lot of good, young talent coming through the system," said Mientkiewicz. "I know we, as a staff, are looking forward to working with them."
Jim Dwyer returns for his ninth season as hitting coach with the Miracle and 18th year in the Minnesota organization. Dwyer, 62, served as the Twins' Minor League roving hitting coordinator from 1997-2005 and is a resident of Cape Coral. Spending 18 years in the Major League, Dwyer is 17th all-time in pinch hits with 103.
Gary Lucas joins the Miracle staff as the pitching coach. Lucas, 58, comes to Fort Myers after serving as the pitching coach for the Cedar Rapids Kernels in 2013. Lucas has been the Twins' Class A pitching coach for the last seven years in Cedar Rapids and with the Beloit Snappers. Lucas has also served as a pitching coach in New Britain, Quad Cities, San Jose and Clinton. Lucas spent eight seasons in the Major Leagues and appeared in 409 games with the San Diego Padres, Montreal Expos and California Angels from 1980-87.
Alan Rail, 35, returns for his second season as the athletic trainer on the Miracle staff. Previously, Rail worked eight seasons with the Beloit Snappers and began his athletic training career in 2004 with Elizabethton.
Season tickets and mini plans for the 2014 Miracle season are currently on sale now. To order, call (239) 768-4210. Get your tickets and catch all the excitement. Visit www.miraclebaseball.com for more information.