GREENEVILLE, TN - The Houston Astros have announced the 2014 field staff for the Greeneville Astros, and it has a familiar look to it. The club will again be led by returning manager Josh Bonifay as he will become just the third manager in the club's 11-year history to return for a second season at the helm.
"We could not be happier to have Josh returning to Greeneville to lead our team," said Greeneville Astros general manager David Lane. "Last year was, without a doubt, one of the most exciting seasons in our club's history. We know Josh and his staff will be working hard to further develop our talented players and give our fans a lot to cheer about this summer."
Bonifay, in his first ever season as a manger in 2013, won the Appalachian League Manager of the Year award after leading the Astros to their second-best regular season record in club history (38-30) and a berth in the Appalachian League Championship Series. An eight-year minor league veteran, Bonifay began his coaching career as a player/coach in the Pirates organization (2007-09) before joining Houston in 2011. He was the hitting coach for Greeneville in 2011 and spent 2012 as the hitting coach for Class A Lexington, where he represented the Legends as a coach on the 2012 Postseason All-Star Team. Bonifay played in 812 Minor League games, which included a stint with Double A Corpus Christi in 2006.
"I am extremely excited about returning to Greeneville this season," said Bonifay. "Pioneer Park is an outstanding facility, the best in the Appalachian League. It offers a great place to develop young men and get a lot of work done. I look forward to providing our players the best opportunity to get better day in and day out. I'm pumped."
Joining Bonifay's staff will be Josh Miller (pitching coach) and Cesar Cedeno (hitting coach). Miller, a former Astros minor league pitcher, played with Bonifay at Corpus Christi in 2006. The 2013 season will be his second as a coach in the club's minor league system after spending two seasons as a professional scout for the Astros (2011-12). Cedeno returns to Greeneville for his third consecutive season. The four-time All-Star played 12 seasons (1970-81) with the Astros and collected five Gold Gloves as an outfielder. Following his playing career, Cedeno served as a coach or instructor for the organization for 10 seasons (1990-94, 1997-2001).
"I couldn't be more excited about our staff returning for a second year," said Bonifay. "We really bonded last year with one common goal to improve our players. Individually speaking, Miller exceeded expectations as a first year coach. He really helps the pitchers improve daily and puts their top interest first in order to make them the best they can be. Meanwhile, C.C. offers a lot of energy and enthusiasm. He also has a wealth of knowledge in all areas of the game and I leaned on him last year. When you have a Gold Glove, All-Star and one of the best Astros to ever play, it is a serious plus. He works hard with the hitters and is always available. I'm thrilled to work with them again."
The Houston Astros also announced the field staffs for their seven other Minor League affiliates, and former Greeneville managers still working throughout the Astros organization include Omar Lopez, Ed Romero and Rodney Linares. Lopez, Greeneville's manager from 2011-12, will be returning to manage the Class A Quad Cities River Bandits for a second season after leading his team to the Midwest League Championship last season. Romero, who managed Greeneville in 2010, will be returning to the Short Season Class A Tri-City ValleyCats where he led his team to the New York-Penn League Championship in his first season. Finally, Linares, who tops Greeneville's all-time win list (2007-09), will return to manage the Class A Lancaster JetHawks after leading them to back-to-back appearances in the California League Championship and being named the California League Manager of the Year in 2013.
Other former Greeneville Astros field staff members still working at different levels throughout the Astros system include the following: 2012-13 athletic trainer Corey O'Brien (Tri-City), 2012 pitching coach Hector Mercado (GCL Astros), 2011 athletic trainer Michael Rendon (Quad Cities), 2009 and 2011 pitching coach Rick Aponte (DSL Astros), 2010 pitching coach Dave Borkowski (Quad Cities), 2008-10 athletic trainer Grant Hufford (Lancaster) and 2007 athletic trainer Bryan Baca (Corpus Christi).