GREENSBORO, N.C. - Greensboro native and Southeast Guilford High School alumnus Blake Butler will lead the Greensboro Grasshoppers on the field as the team’s manager for 2024 season, the Pittsburgh Pirates revealed this week as part of its player development assignments for the upcoming season. He replaces Robby Hammock, the
GREENSBORO, N.C. - Greensboro native and Southeast Guilford High School alumnus Blake Butler will lead the Greensboro Grasshoppers on the field as the team’s manager for 2024 season, the Pittsburgh Pirates revealed this week as part of its player development assignments for the upcoming season. He replaces Robby Hammock, the ‘Hoppers skipper in 2023, who moves up to Double-A Altoona in the Pittsburgh farm system this season.
Butler, a former middle infielder, graduated from SE Guilford in 2013 and played collegiately for the College of Charleston before being selected by the Cincinnati Reds in the 15th round of the 2015 draft. He made his professional debut with the Arizona League Reds where he played in the Cincinnati minor league system from 2015-2017. Butler joined the Pirates Organization in 2020 and spent time in Altoona before joining the ‘Hoppers as a development coach in 2021. Before his professional coaching career, Butler served as an assistant coach at Francis Marion University and Davidson College.
"Greensboro is a special place to me personally and a special place for the Pittsburgh Pirates to continue to develop players into the greatest version of themselves,” remarked Butler. “The long list of successful major league players to compete for the city of Greensboro speaks for itself, and our staff is motivated to help our players grow that list. As a staff, we are excited for the city to see our group compete and hope to add to the wonderful tradition of Greensboro baseball in 2024."
A mix of familiar and new coaching staff will join the new ‘Hoppers skipper this season that opens at FNB Field on Friday night, April 5th against the Greenville Drive. Hitting coach Jonathan Prieto and athletic trainer Casey Lee return for another year in the Gate City as field staff. New faces include bench coach Casey Harms, integrated performance coach Quentin Brown, pitching coach Matt Myers, catching/game planning coach Ethan Goforth and strength & conditioning coach Zach Palumbo.
“The announcement of the field staff is another key step toward Opening Day,” said Grasshoppers GM Tim Vangel. “In all of my time in Greensboro, I never remember having a hometown manager of the team. Blake used to come to Greensboro games as a youngster, and this is proof that America’s Pastime is part of the American dream. We’re extremely proud and happy that the Pirates elevated 2023 manager Robby Hammock and pitching coach Fernando Nieve up to the next level and wish them success this year.”
Jonathan Prieto enters his second season with the Hoppers as the hitting coach and has been a member of the Pirates organization for 25 years, serving as a coach in the Florida Complex League before Greensboro for two seasons. Prieto was the recipient of the organization's Danny Murtaugh Coach-of-the-Year Award in 2022, which recognizes the Pirates minor league coach who has had the biggest impact on the development of talent throughout the season. Prieto spent four years as an infielder in the Pirates minor league system (1998-2001) after being signed as a non-drafted free agent in 1997.
Matt Myers enters his first season with the Pittsburgh Pirates as the Hoppers pitching coach. Prior to joining the Pirates, Myers most recently was the pitching coach at Lipscomb University and spent time at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. While with the Seahawks, he helped the program reach its sixth-straight Colonial Athletic Association championship game behind a stellar pitching rotation. His pitching staff finished the 2021 season ranked 31st nationally with a 3.93 earned run average. Myers has also spent time at Western Kentucky, Auburn, and UNC Asheville. Myers also pitched collegiately for the University of Tennessee and embarked on his coaching journey in 1999.
Quentin Brown joined the Pirates in 2022 as a hitting coach and spent his first year with the rookie-level Florida Complex League team, before moving to the low Class-A Florida State League's Bradenton (Fla.) Marauders in 2023. Prior to joining the Pirates, Brown was the Vice President at the Finch Creek Fieldhouse Athletic Facility after a head coaching stint at Western High School. Brown joins the Hoppers as the Integrated Baseball Performance Coach.
Casey Harms enters his third year in the Pirates Organization and his first with the Hoppers as he comes from Bradenton Marauders after serving as the integrated baseball performance coach from 2022-2023. Prior to the Marauders, Harms started his career with the Pirates as the hitting coach in the Florida Complex League in 2021. Before his professional coaching ranks, Harms served as manager for the Waterloo Bucks in the Northwoods League in 2019-20, capturing the league championship in 2020, and was an assistant coach at UC Santa Barbara from 2013-2018 while the Gauchos made their first-ever appearance in the College World Series in 2016. Harms joins the Hoppers for the 2024 season as the bench coach.
Ethan Goforth enters his third season with the Pirates after serving as an assistant coach in the Florida Complex League. Goforth was assigned to the Dominican Fall League, where he worked mainly with catchers. Prior to his coaching career, Goforth was drafted by the Pirates in 2019 and played with the Organization from 2019-2021. Goforth will join the Hoppers for the 2024 season as the catching/planning coach.
Casey Lee enters his fifth season in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization and second with the Greensboro Grasshoppers. Prior to his 2023 season in Greensboro, Lee spent 2022 working with the Pirates Single-A affiliate the Bradenton Marauders, and the 2021 season as the Head Athletic Trainer for the Pirates Florida Complex League. Zach Palumbo joins the Hoppers for the first time as the strength and conditioning coach.
Season tickets, mini-plans and group tickets are all available for the 2024 season at gsohoppers.com.