The Eugene Emeralds, Northwest League affiliate of the San Diego Padres, have announced their 2014 coaching staff. The Ems will be managed by Robbie Wine, former head coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions. Wine will be joined by a pair of coaches with big league experience in Nelson Cruz and Homer Bush.
Robbie Wine joins the Padres organization after nine seasons in Happy Valley where he compiled a record of 228-262 finishing as high as 3rd in the Big-10 three times. Robbie was selected by the Houston Astros in the first round (8th overall) of the 1983 amateur draft out of Oklahoma State. He made his Major League debut in 1986 and played in a total of 23 games hitting .146 (6-44).
Nelson Cruz returns to Eugene as Emeralds pitching coach. "Nellie" was in the same roll for the Ems when they posted the best record in the league two years in a row (2011: 46-30, 2012 47- 29). Cruz led the league's top pitching staff in 2012 finishing with a NWL best 3.00 ERA. As a player, Nelson was signed by the Montreal Expos in 1989 out of Puerto Plato, Dominican Republic. Between 1997 and 2003, Cruz pitched in the big leagues for the White Sox, Tigers, Astros and Rockies finishing with a record of 15-23 and a 5.04 ERA.
The aptly named Homer Bush will round out the 2014 field staff as hitting coach. Bush was originally drafted in the 7th round by the Padres in 1991 out of East St. Louis HS. Bush made his Major League debut in 1997 for the New York Yankees. He went on to play 409 big league games in seven seasons with the Yankees, Blue Jays and Marlins. Bush had a banner year in 1999 for Toronto when he hit .320 with 26 doubles and 32 steals in 128 games.
The coaching staff will be aided by returning athletic trainer Mitch Matoon and new strength coach Gabe Lazzaro. The Emeralds open their season on the road Friday, June 13 with the first pitch at PK Park slated for Wednesday, June 18 at 7:05pm against the Boise Hawks.