Fresno Grizzlies manager Tony DeFrancesco and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders skipper Al Pedrique have been tabbed the managers of their respective league's All-Star teams for the 2017 Triple-A All-Star Game. The 30th annual contest will take place, for the first time, at historic Cheney Stadium in Tacoma, Washington on Wednesday, July 12 at 6:05 p.m. PDT. The game can be seen on MLB Network and heard on the Triple-A All-Star Game Radio Network.
The Pacific Coast League's winningest modern-day manager, DeFrancesco, has led the Astros Triple-A team for the last seven years; he had a seven-year run with the Athletics affiliate - Sacramento River Cats - prior to that. Across that time, DeFrancesco has won eight division titles and four PCL Championships, the latter of which is tied for the most in the league's history. With a victory on April 9, 2017, he won his 1,000th game in his PCL career. This is his 23rd season managing, having also been in the Oakland organization from 1994-2009. DeFrancesco previously skippered the PCL All-Stars to a win in 2005. He is the second Grizzlies manager to serve in this capacity, joining Bob Mariano (2014).
Joining DeFrancesco's staff are Las Vegas 51s hitting coach Jack Voigt and Nashville Sounds pitching coach Rick Rodriguez. Voigt is in his third year in his current role. He coached the PCL's top three hitters last season - T.J. Rivera (.353), Brandon Nimmo (.352) and Gavin Cecchini (.325). Voigt has been with the Mets since 2006, including having served as the hitting coach for the International League's Buffalo Bisons in 2010. The Florida native began his coaching career in 2000 as a player/coach for the PCL's Oklahoma City RedHawks, a Rangers affiliate. Rodriguez has been with the Athletics for 33 years, including 25 as a minor league coach and seven as a player. He formerly was a pitching coach on DeFrancesco's staff as a member of the River Cats for six seasons, winning three PCL Championships in that time. Rodriguez previously served as the pitching coach for the PCL All-Stars in 2008.
Pedrique, manager of the defending Triple-A National Champions, is in his fifth year with the Yankees and second with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He spent the preceding 16 years a manager or coach in the Astros, Diamondbacks and Royals organizations, including skippering the PCL's Tucson Sidewinders for two years (2002-03). The following season he was Arizona's third base coach before spending the second half as the team's interim manager. This will mark the fifth time the IL All-Stars will be led by a SWB manager, with Marc Bombard (2000, 2003) and Dave Miley (2008, 2013) each having done so twice.
Durham Bulls manager Jared Sandberg and Louisville Bats pitching coach Jeff Fassero are also on the IL staff. Sandberg has led the Bulls for the last three years. This is his 10th season with the Rays after retiring from a 12-year playing career in 2007. The Olympia, Washington native managed Hudson Valley to a New York-Penn League title in 2012 and then skippered Single-A Bowling Green to a then-franchise record 82-53 mark the following season. Fassero, in his first full season as the Bats pitching coach, is in his seventh season as a minor league coach, including his fourth with the Reds. He originally coached three different Cubs-affiliated teams from 2010-13. Fassero had a 16-year major league playing career in which he pitched over 2,000 innings for nine teams, most notably a six-year run with the Expos.
Tacoma Rainiers trainers Tom Newberg and Ben Clawson round out the PCL staff. Newberg, in his 31st year with the Mariners, was also the trainer for the 2009 PCL All-Stars. Clawson is in his first season with the Mariners. Rochester Red Wings athletic trainer Larry Bennese will serve in that same role for the IL staff. He is in his 29th year as a trainer and his 22nd with the Twins. Bennese has been honored as an Athletic Trainer of the Year seven times, including being tabbed the IL Trainer of the Year in 2014.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.