DURHAM, NC - The Durham Bulls, in conjunction with the Tampa Bay Rays, have announced Jared Sandberg will return for his third consecutive season as the team's manager. Ozzie Timmons will serve as hitting coach for the second straight year, while Kyle Snyder will serve as pitching coach for the third season in a row. Former Bull Craig Albernaz will join the 2017 staff as a coach, while Athletic Trainer Mike Sandoval and Strength and Conditioning Coach Bryan King will each return.
After narrowly missing the International League playoffs in his first two seasons, Jared Sandberg will aim to guide the Bulls to postseason play in his third year at the helm. The 38-year-old missed the 2015 postseason by 4.0 games, before Durham missed out on the playoffs by just 1.5 games in 2016. The 2017 season will mark the Olympia, Wash. native's ninth season as a minor league manager, all coming in the Rays organization at five different levels. The former Rays farmhand has compiled a career managerial mark of 447-406 (.524), while advancing to postseason play on two occasions. Just the fourth manager in the team's 20-year Triple-A history, Sandberg played parts of five seasons with Durham from 2000-2004, and spent parts of three seasons at the Major League level with Tampa Bay from 2001-2003.
Hitting Coach Ozzie Timmons returns to Durham for the second straight season, after spending the previous seven campaigns with Double-A Montgomery. In Timmons' first season at the Triple-A level, the Bulls finished the year second on the circuit in doubles (264), third in extra-base hits (402) and fourth in home runs (115). The 2017 season will mark Timmons' 11th year as a minor league coach, all of which have come with Tampa Bay affiliates. The 46-year-old enjoyed a 16-year playing career between seven organizations, two foreign leagues and the independent Atlantic League.
A former first round draft pick out of UNC, Kyle Snyder is back as the team's pitching coach for a third consecutive year. Under Snyder's tutelage the Durham pitching staff has led the IL in strikeouts each of the past two seasons, including setting a league record by punching out 1,287 batters in 2016. The 2017 season will be Snyder's sixth with the Rays, as he served as pitching coach for Short-Season Single-A Hudson Valley in 2012 and Single-A Bowling Green in 2013, and served as a pitching coordinator in 2014. Snyder's Major League career spanned parts of five different seasons between the Boston Red Sox and Kansas City Royals.
Joining the staff for the 2017 season is Craig Albernaz, who returns to Durham after spending parts of five seasons in the Bull City as a catcher from 2009-2013. A fan-favorite in his time at the DBAP, the 34-year-old played in 123 games in a Bulls uniform, and spent eight of his nine seasons as a player in the Tampa Bay organization. 2017 will be Albernaz's third season as a minor league coach - all in the Tampa Bay system - after spending 2016 with Short-Season Single-A Hudson Valley and 2015 with Rookie-Level Princeton.
Mike Sandoval rejoins the Bulls for his sixth season in 2017 as the team's athletic trainer. Before his time in the Rays system, he spent 25 seasons within the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, including 10 seasons as assistant athletic trainer at the major league level.
Bryan King will return for his fourth season as the Bulls' strength and conditioning coach in 2017. Prior to joining the Tampa Bay system in 2014, he spent the previous five seasons in the same position with the Toronto Blue Jays at the major league level.