Pedrique takes over helm with Thunder

Skipper led Charleston, Tampa to winning seasons in 2013, 2014

By Trenton Thunder | January 8, 2015 4:11 PM

The Trenton Thunder, the Double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, announced Thursday that Al Pedrique will manage the Thunder during the 2015 season. Pedrique is the ninth manager in Thunder history and the fourth to have managed in the Major Leagues. 

Al Pedrique takes over for Tony Franklin, who was the Thunder manager for eight seasons and led the team to three Eastern League Championships. Tony will remain in the New York Yankees organization.

Pedrique will be joined in the dugout by new additions to the Thunder staff pitching coach Jose Rosado, hitting coach P.J. Pilittere, and defensive coach Michel Hernandez. Returning to the coaching staff is athletic trainer Lee Meyer, who enters his second season with the Thunder, and Orlando Crance, the strength and conditioning coach, entering his third season with the team.

"The Thunder are excited for the 2015 season to begin with Al Pedrique leading the charge on the field," said Thunder general manager Will Smith. "Al has an impressive coaching resume and we welcome him and all of our coaches to the Thunder this season."

Pedrique, a native of Venezuela, guided the Tampa Yankees to a 71-68 record in 2014 and led the Charleston RiverDogs to a 75-63 record in 2013 as manager. Before joining the Yankees organization in 2013, he served as a coach or manager in the Houston Astros, Kansas City Royals and Arizona Diamondbacks organizations over 16 years. He spent the 2010-12 seasons as the bench coach for the Houston Astros and also served as the third base coach for the Diamondbacks' Major League club in 2003 and 2004. He was named interim manager of the Diamondbacks for the second half of the 2004 season. Pedrique was originally signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1978 and went on to play in parts of four seasons with the Mets (1987), Pirates (1987-88) and Tigers (1989).

New Thunder pitching coach Jose Rosado has spent the past four seasons as a pitching coach with the Gulf Coast Yankees. The Jersey City, New Jersey native played five seasons with the Kansas City Royals where he went 37-45 with a 4.25 ERA in 125 career games. Rosado was originally selected in the 12th round of the 1994 Draft.

P.J. Pilittere returns to the Thunder as the hitting coach after serving in the same role for Tampa and Charleston the previous two seasons. P.J. made his professional coaching debut in 2012 as a coach with the GCL Yankees. He was originally selected in the 13th round of the 2004 Draft by the Yankees and went on to play in 470 career Minor League game where he hit .264 with 77 doubles, 16 HR, and 183 RBIs. P.J. was a catcher for the Thunder during the 2007, 2008 and 2009 seasons where he helped the Thunder win their first two Eastern League Championships in '07 and '08.

Defensive coach Michel Hernandez joins the Thunder after spending two seasons coaching with the Gulf Coast Yankees. Michel played in 45 games over three seasons in the Majors with the Yankees in 2003 and Tampa Bay in 2008 and 2009. In 15 seasons in the Minors, he hit .257 with 137 doubles, 8 triples, 35 homers and 340 RBIs in 997 games with eight different organizations (Yankees, Philadelphia, San Diego, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Cleveland).

Lee Meyer will return for his second season as the Thunder athletic trainer. Previously he spent two seasons with the Tampa Yankees. He also worked in the same role for one season with the Charleston RiverDogs and one season with the Staten Island Yankees.

Orlando Crance returns to Trenton for a third season as strength and conditioning Coach. He served in the same capacity for the Florida Marlins' Double-A affiliate in Jacksonville in 2010 and previously for the Savannah Sand Gnats (Class A, Mets).

The Thunder, the Double A Affiliate of the New York Yankees, will begin the 2015 season on April 9 in Erie against the Seawolves. The first home game at ARM & HAMMER Park is on Thursday, April 16. Season tickets, group outings, Pic-A-Plans and Mini Plans are on sale now. Single-game tickets will go on sale on Saturday, March 14. For more information about tickets, fans should call 609-394-3300 or visit trentonthunder.com

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