CURVE, Pa. - After back-to-back Western Division titles that included the Eastern League Championship in 2017, Michael Ryan will return to manage the Altoona Curve for a third season in 2019, the Pittsburgh Pirates, Senior Director of Minor League Operations Larry Broadway and the Curve announced on Friday.
Ryan, a native of Indiana, Pa., will enter his seventh season as a minor league manager. Ryan will have two new staff members with him in the dugout: pitching coach Joel Hanrahan and hitting coach Jon Nunnally.
Under Ryan's direction in 2017-18, the Curve won consecutive division crowns for the first time in team history. His record in Altoona stands at 152-126 with the second-highest winning percentage (.547) by a manager in Curve history in addition to the fourth-most wins.
"I'm extremely honored to lead the Curve for the third consecutive year," Ryan said. "In my opinion, it's the best-run franchise in Minor League Baseball. Derek Martin and his staff just do an unbelievable job in addition to the Lozinak family growing the franchise. Altoona is close to home and close to my heart."
Ryan, 41, started his coaching career with the Curve in 2012 as a coach under then-manager P.J. Forbes. Ryan's managerial career began with the Single-A West Virginia Power from 2013-2014 before leading Bradenton the following two seasons. In six seasons as a manager in the Pirates' minor league system, Ryan has compiled a 432-395 record and has directed two championship teams (Bradenton, 2016; Altoona, 2017).
"That's the expectation and that's not going to change," Ryan said on playing championship-caliber baseball in Altoona. "We have a young core of guys coming up this year, a little inexperienced, but that will wear off after the first week. It's the same situation we've been in the last two years. I'm excited to get it going."
As a player, Ryan was drafted in the fifth round by the Minnesota Twins out of Indiana Area Senior High School in 1996, where he played baseball, basketball and football and was an all-state selection in football and baseball in 1996. He played 15 professional seasons, including five in the majors. The former outfielder spent four seasons in the big leagues with the Twins from 2002-2005 and played for the Los Angeles Angels in 2010.
Hanrahan, 37, joins Ryan's staff for his first season with the Curve and third overall as a coach in the Pirates organization. Before joining the Curve, he was previously the pitching coach for the West Virginia Power in 2018 and the Bristol Pirates in 2017. He also served as the bullpen coach for the U.S. Team in the 2018 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Nationals Park.
Hanrahan played seven seasons of Major League Baseball with the Nationals from 2007-09, the Pirates from 2009-2012 and Red Sox in 2013. Over his four seasons in Pittsburgh, the right-handed reliever was a two-time National League All-Star in 2011-12 and racked up 82 saves, ranked fifth all-time in team history. He remains one of just two closers in Pirates' history to reach 40 saves in a single season, and he held the single-season club record (40 in 2011) before it was surpassed by Mark Melancon's 51 saves in 2015. A native of Norwalk, Iowa, Hanrahan's 14-year playing career began as a second-round draft pick by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2000 and made his major league debut with Washington on July 27, 2007 against the Mets at Shea Stadium.
"Joel is very intense, very competitive. We're made from the same cloth," said Ryan. "He has some unbelievable experience at the major league level and pitched in some high-leverage games. He's going to do a great job bringing those experiences and his knowledge to our young pitchers in Altoona."
Nunnally, 47, enters his first season with the Pirates organization and his 12th year as a coach in professional baseball. He spent the 2018 season as the Minor League Outfield and Baserunning Coordinator for the Los Angeles Angels. Nunnally spent the first five years of his coaching career climbing up the Cleveland Indians system with A-Adv. Kinston (2007-08) and Triple-A Columbus (2009) before he served as the Indians hitting coach from 2010-11 under manager Manny Acta. He has spent three seasons as an Eastern League hitting coach with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (2012, 14) and Portland Sea Dogs (2016) in addition to stops with Triple-A Buffalo (2013) and A-Adv. Salem (2015).
Nunnally played 15 seasons of professional baseball after the Cleveland Indians drafted the outfielder in the third round in 1992. His MLB career spanned parts of six seasons from 1995-2000 with the Kansas City Royals, Cincinnati Reds and New York Mets. Nunnally spent the 2005 season in the Pirates organization with Triple-A Indianapolis and concluded his playing career in Mexico the following year.
"I'm glad to have Jon in the organization and honored to work with him," Ryan said. "He's a former major league hitting coach who, in my opinion, is going to get back to being a big league hitting coach. I'm looking forward to our players learning from him and I'm going to learn from him as well."
Filling out the field staff will be a pair of familiar faces. Justin Ahrens returns to the Curve for his third season as the team's athletic trainer and his eighth with the Pirates organization. Ahrens has spent each of the last six seasons with Ryan as his manager. Strength & conditioning coach Joe Schlesinger is also back for his third season with Altoona and his sixth with the Pittsburgh organization.
The Altoona Curve open the 2019 season on the road against the Akron RubberDucks on Thursday, April 4 at 6:35 p.m. The Curve home opener is set for Thursday, April 11 at 6 p.m. against Akron. Season Tickets, Mini Plans and Flex Books are currently on sale by phone at 877.99.CURVE, online at AltoonaCurve.com or in person at the PNG Field offices. The Stockyard Team Store is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and online 24/7/365.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.