Greenville, S.C. – A little more than two months remain before the Greenville Drive take the field to defend their 2023 South Atlantic League Championship and the Drive are looking to give fans the chance to reminisce and ask burning questions about the championship run and the season ahead at
Greenville, S.C. – A little more than two months remain before the Greenville Drive take the field to defend their 2023 South Atlantic League Championship and the Drive are looking to give fans the chance to reminisce and ask burning questions about the championship run and the season ahead at this year’s Hot Stove on Monday, February 5th from 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. at the AFL Champions Club at Fluor Field. While not required, fans are asked to RSVP for the Hot Stove event for planning purposes here.
Boston Red Sox Director of Player Development Brian Abraham, Greenville Drive Manager Iggy Suarez and Pitching Coach Bob Kipper will once again headline the Hot Stove event, hosted annually by the Drive to give fans the chance to gear up for baseball season and interact with the leaders behind the Drive’s on-field success.
Crucial to that on-field success in 2023, was a trove of Red Sox top prospects - 18 of whom played for the Drive in 2023 before being called up to AA Portland - which Abraham and his team recognized and signed, while Suarez and Kipper helped develop.
“Our fans were able to be a part of a Championship run last season and that all begins behind the scenes on the player development side,” said Drive General Manager Eric Jarinko. “Brian, Iggy, and Bob all play a crucial role in shaping these players and it's a testament to them when the season can end in a championship. We’re excited for our fans to be able to hear first-hand how much goes into developing champions and the next wave of Red Sox stars.”
The complimentary Hot Stove event will also feature a plethora of complimentary new food items hitting concession stands in time for Opening Day such as chicken and waffles and mini lobster roll sliders. The night will kick off with remarks from Drive Chairman and Owner Craig Brown and Jarinko who will preview what's in store at the ballpark for 2024 including community and theme nights, specialty jerseys, giveaways, and more.
Abraham will also provide an update and in-depth look into the Red Sox organization, while Suarez and Kipper will discuss what to expect from the Drive on the field in 2024. The night will conclude with a Q&A session with all guests.
Suarez and Kipper are expected to return to the Drive in 2024, their sixth consecutive year leading the charge from Fluor Field’s first base dugout. The 2023 season marked the first SAL Championship for the pair - who are no strangers to the Red Sox organization.
Prior to joining the Drive, Suarez managed the Lowell Spinners, Boston's short-season affiliate, for two seasons. He led the Spinners to a 47-29 record and the New York-Penn League's Stedler Division title in his first season as manager in 2016. A 24th round selection by the Red Sox from Texas State in 2003, he was a fan favorite over seven seasons in the Boston organization, reaching AAA-Pawtucket in 2009.
The 2024 season will be Kipper's 11th season as Greenville's pitching coach. He returned to Greenville in that role in 2018, and he served in the same roles from 2005-2006 as well as 2008-2009. The 57-year-old served as the Red Sox bullpen coach in 2002 and has also held stints as the pitching coach in AAA-Pawtucket from 2015-2017, as well as in AA-Portland from 2010-2014.
A former first round pick (8th overall) by the California Angels in 1982 out of high school, Kipper spent eight seasons in the major leagues, with seven of those coming with the Pittsburgh Pirates. His best season came in 1989 with the Pirates, where he logged a 2.93 ERA in 52 appearances out of the bullpen.
Abraham is beginning his fourth season as the Red Sox Director of Player Development, and 12th in the Boston organization. A native of Worcester, MA, Abraham previously served as the Director of Minor League Operations for two seasons, and four seasons as Assistant Director of Player Development. A Holy Cross graduate, Abraham spent six seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays organization before joining the Red Sox.