Hartford, Conn. - The Hartford Yard Goats Baseball Club, the Double-A Eastern League Affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, announced that Warren Schaeffer will be returning as manager for the 2019 season. The Rockies assigned Schaeffer to Hartford again, making him the first ever Yard Goats manager to return for consecutive seasons in Hartford. Schaeffer's coaching staff will include returning Hitting Coach and former MLB player Lee Stevens, and newcomer Steve Merriman, who will serve as Pitching Coach. Hoshito Mizutani returns to the Yard Goats as Head Athletic Trainer and Phil Bailey returns as the Physical Performance Coach.
Last season under Schaeffer, six Yard Goats players were named to the Eastern League All-Star Team, two players were selected to the Major League Futures Game, and two players were chosen as Eastern League award winners. Schaeffer and Stevens helped develop infielder Garrett Hampson, who began the season with the Yard Goats, and finished the season on the Colorado Rockies playoff roster. The Yard Goats went 65-72 and finished in third place in the Eastern League's Eastern Division.
Schaeffer came to Hartford last year after managing the Class-A Asheville Tourists of the South Atlantic League in the previous three seasons, 2015-2017. This will be his fourth season as a manager in the Rockies system and his sixth as a professional coach.
"We are ecstatic to have Warren and Lee back in Hartford for another season and welcome Steve to our staff," Yard Goats President Tim Restall said. "Warren and Lee were a pleasure to work with last season and we look forward to having them as part of our wonderful community again in 2019."
Schaeffer, 33, managed the Low-A Asheville Tourists from 2015-2017. In 2016, the Tourists went 40-29 in the second half and reached the South Atlantic League Championship Series. The former infielder was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 38th round of the 2007 MLB draft from Virginia Tech University. The Vandergrift, Pennsylvania native played for six seasons (461 games) in the Rockies minor league system and reached Triple-A Colorado Springs in 2011.
Hartford Yard Goats Managers
2016 Darin Everson
2017 Jerry Weinstein
2018 Warren Schaeffer
2019 Warren Schaeffer
Lee Stevens returns to the Yard Goats for his second season as the Hitting Coach. Stevens joined the Yard Goats last year after spending the previous season at Rookie Level Grand Junction in the Pioneer League. This will be his seventh season as a coach in the Rockies organization, as he was at Grand Junction from 2013 through 2015, and was Hitting Coach for Class-A Modesto in 2016. The former first round pick of the California Angels in 1986 played eight years in the Major Leagues with the Angels (1990-1992), Texas Rangers (1996-1999), Montreal Expos (2000-2002) and Cleveland Indians (2002). Stevens enjoyed his best season in the majors in 1997 when he batted .300 with 24 doubles, 21 home runs and 74 RBI in 137 games with the Rangers. That season also began a stretch of five consecutive 20 plus home run seasons for the Kansas City, Missouri native. Stevens set career highs with 77 runs scored, 35 doubles, 25 home runs, and 95 RBI in 2001 with the Expos.
Steve Merriman joins the Yard Goats for his first season in Hartford as the Pitching Coach. He joins the Rockies organization after spending last season as an assistant pitching coordinator with the Chicago Cubs. He also served as a pitching coach with Class A Lexington in the Royals' organization in 2014 and has also been a part of the Tigers', Rockies', Mets' and Diamondbacks' organizations. Merriman coached in the New York Mets organization from 2004-2006 and served as a Major League bullpen coach during Mets spring training games. He worked for the Major League Scouting Bureau from 2009 to 2011, serving as an area scout in the Midwest. Merriman also spent time as an associate scout for the Colorado Rockies (2002-04) and was a bullpen catcher and bullpen practice pitcher for the Detroit Tigers (1996-99).
The Yard Goats 2019 home opener will be on Thursday, April 11th at 7:05 PM against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats at Dunkin' Donuts Park in Hartford. Season tickets, ticket packages, hospitality, and group tickets for the 2019 season are now on sale by calling 860-246-GOAT (4628), by visiting online at www.yardgoatsbaseball.com, or in person at the Click It or Ticket Box Office at Dunkin' Donuts Park.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.