The Princeton Rays' along with their parent club, the Tampa Bay Rays', would like to announce the coaching staff; manager- Danny Sheaffer, pitching coach- Jose Gonzalez and hitting coach- Wuarnner Rincones will be returning for the 2017 season. Two new additions to the staff will include former Rays' minor league player, Sean Smedley and athletic trainer Kris Russell.
Danny Sheaffer, 55, who has led the Princeton Rays' to consecutive Appalachian League playoff appearances over the past three seasons, will return to manage the team for a fifth straight year in 2017. As a player, Sheaffer, played parts of seven seasons in the majors primarily as a catcher for Boston, Cleveland, Colorado, and St. Louis during a ten-year span from 1987-1997. He was the number one selection of the Boston Red Sox (20th overall) in the 1981 Major League Baseball amateur draft. He began his coaching career in 1999 and managed at all levels in the minors before joining the Rays' organization in 2013.
Returning for his fourth consecutive season is pitching Coach Jose Gonzalez. The P-Rays' mound, under his instruction have been among the league's best and played an integral role in Princeton's consecutive appearances in postseason play over the past three summers. His professional playing career consisted of pitching three seasons (2000-2002) in the farm system of the Boston Red Sox.
Hitting Coach Wuarnner Rincones returns for his second year at Princeton as hitting coach. His first tenure with the P-Rays' (2010-2011) saw him tutor many Princeton hitters, including current Tampa Bay outfielder Kevin Kiermaier. As a player, Rincones played five seasons (1991-1995) as an infielder in the farm system of the Chicago White Sox. He spent the 15 seasons prior to his 2010 arrival in Princeton in various coaching and managerial assignments for the White Sox, Reds, and Rays'. In 2009, Rincones capped off his season by being the manager for the Venezuelan Summer League champion VSL Rays'.
Sean Smedley will start his first coaching assignment this season in Princeton. Sean, a former player, was signed by the Rays' as a non-drafted free agent following the 2013 June Draft. He played parts of three minor league seasons in the Rays' organization, with the GCL Rays in 2013 and Class-A Bowling Green from 2014-15. Last year Sean served as the video coordinator for Princeton.
Athletic trainer Kris Russell will join the P-Rays' staff after spending five seasons as the Montgomery Biscuits' athletic trainer. The Florida-native enters his eleventh season with the Rays' and fourteenth in professional baseball. A University of South Florida graduate, Russell earned his Bachelors of Science in Athletic Training in 2004. Russell was the 2014 Southern League Trainer of the Year.
The Princeton Rays' hope to have another successful season. Accomplishment from 2016 include: Mercer Cup Champions, advance to the playoffs, three members selected to the Appalachian All-Star team (1B Bobby Melley, OF Eleardo Cabrera, RHP Ethan Clark), two members selected to the Rays All-Star team (2B Robbie Tenerowicz- 58 games played and OF Jesus Sanchez- 14 games played in Princeton and 42 games played in the GCL) and Tampa Bay Rays Minor League MVP for Princeton, Eleardo Cabrera.
The Princeton Rays' have been the proud Appalachian League affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays' since 1997. Anyone needing more information can contact the team either by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the team office at 304-487-2000.