INDIANAPOLIS – The Pittsburgh Pirates today announced that Miguel Perez will return as manager of the Indianapolis Indians for the upcoming 2023 season after leading the Triple-A club to a 74-75 record and fourth-place finish out of 10 teams in the International League West in 2022.
The Pirates also announced that Perez will be joined by returning hitting coach Eric Munson, pitching coach Dan Meyer and integrated baseball performance coach Brady Conlan, with the additions of Evansville, Ind. native Drew Benes as bullpen coach and former Indians utilityman Dallas McPherson as bench coach.
Manager Miguel Perez
Perez, 39, is entering his ninth season as a minor league coach for the Pirates, sixth in a managerial role and second as Indianapolis’ manager. With the Indians in 2022, he guided 11 of a franchise-record 86 players to their MLB debuts with Pittsburgh, the most since Indy sent a Pirates affiliation-high 12 to the big leagues in 2016. The ballclub also recorded a minor league-leading 12-game errorless streak from Aug. 12-25, its longest since at least the 2005 season. Perez owns a 259-279 career managerial record among stints with Rookie-Advanced Bristol (2017-18), Single-A Greensboro (2019), Double-A Altoona (2021) and Indianapolis.
The former catcher began his coaching career in 2014 and made his way through Indianapolis as a coach in 2016. As a player, he was signed by Cincinnati as a non-drafted free agent out of Guatire, Miranda, Venezuela on Nov. 15, 2000 and became the first player from his hometown to make his MLB debut on Sept. 7, 2005 vs. Milwaukee. He served as the Indians backstop for brief stints during the 2009, ’11 and ’12 seasons.
Hitting Coach Eric Munson
Munson, 45, is entering his second season as the Indians hitting coach after beginning his coaching career in affiliated baseball last year. The Indians’ 2022 offense led the International League with 44 triples, one shy of tying the Victory Field era record.
Prior to joining Indy’s coaching staff, Munson owned and operated Gold Standard Athletics in Dubuque, Iowa since its opening in 2013. His career as an instructor began with an undergrad assistant role at his alma mater – the University of Southern California – and later as an assistant at the University of Dubuque.
He was selected by Detroit as the third overall pick in the 1999 First-Year Player Draft and made his debut one year later on July 18, 2000 vs. Cincinnati. His nine-year major league career included stints with Detroit (2000-04), Tampa Bay (2005), Houston (2006-07) and Oakland (2009).
Pitching Coach Dan Meyer
Meyer, 41, is entering his 10th season coaching in the minor leagues and his second with the Pirates after serving as Indy’s pitching coach last season. Across 149 games, 46 total pitchers on Indy’s roster combined for a franchise-record 1,256 strikeouts. Two pitchers landed among International League leaders in strikeouts, with Osvaldo Bido’s 122 ranking seventh overall and Hunter Stratton’s 81 ranking fifth among relievers.
Previously, Meyer advanced from a role as Atlanta’s minor league pitching rehabilitation coordinator in 2015 to pitching coach of Double-A Mississippi in 2021. After being named Mississippi’s interim manager in the same season, he led the Braves to a Double-A South title and was named the league’s Manager of the Year.
Meyer first appeared in Indianapolis in 2011, the final year of his playing career. He was originally selected as the 34th overall pick in the 2002 First-Year Player Draft by Atlanta and made his MLB debut on Sept. 14, 2004 at New York (NL). His career on the mound featured major league appearances with Atlanta (2004), Oakland (2007-08) and Florida (2009-10).
Bullpen Coach Drew Benes
Benes, 34, is entering his seventh season in the Pirates organization and first with Indianapolis after spending the past two years with Altoona. The 2022 Curve pitching staff featured Luis Ortiz (Pittsburgh’s No. 4 prospect, Baseball America), Quinn Priester (No. 5) and Mike Burrows (No. 9) prior to their respective promotions to Indianapolis. Altoona’s staff also tied for the least home runs allowed in the Eastern League (129) and ranked fourth in ERA (3.97, 1,196.0 innings).
After beginning his instructional career with Single-A West Virginia in 2017, Benes served as pitching coach with the GCL Pirates in 2018 and High-A Bradenton in 2019-20. Prior to his coaching career, he spent two years running the Rawlings St. Louis Prospects Baseball Club, a high school and youth baseball organization which focuses on the development of young athletes.
Benes – who was originally selected by Cincinnati as a third baseman in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft but did not sign – pitched two years at Arkansas State University before being selected by St. Louis as a right-handed pitcher in the 35th round in 2010. He spent three seasons in the Cardinals’ farm system before ending his playing career with a seven-week spring training stint with Texas and brief cameo in the Frontier League in 2013.
Integrated Baseball Performance Coach Brady Conlan
Conlan, 29, returns for his second year with Indianapolis as the club’s integrated baseball performance coach and third year with Pittsburgh. In serving as Indy’s first base coach for the majority of the 2022 season, Conlan assisted in the Indians recording the fifth-most stolen bases in the International League (157) and their most since leading the league in 2015.
After a successful playing career at California State University, Dominguez Hills that led to him being selected by Chicago (AL) in the 24th round of the 2016 First-Year Player Draft and a spot on the Philippines National Team in 2016 qualifiers for the 2017 World Baseball Classic, Conlan made the jump to coaching. He began as an assistant coach at his alma mater for two years and then made the jump to serving as the director of player development for the California State University, Northridge baseball team. Prior to the cancellation of the 2020 minor league season, he was named as a hitting coach for the Dominican Summer League Dodgers and was Bradenton’s hitting coach in 2021.
Bench Coach Dallas McPherson
McPherson, 42, joins Indianapolis as bench coach for his first season coaching in the Pirates organization after spending the last five years in Toronto’s minor league system. He served as the Blue Jays’ minor league defensive coordinator last season after two years as skill development coordinator. His professional coaching career began with stints as manager of Short-Season A Vancouver (2018) and Single-A Lansing (2019), where he compiled an overall record of 108-107.
The former major league infielder made his way through Indianapolis in his final year playing in affiliated baseball. He appeared in 20 games with the Indians in the second half of 2012 and hit .299 (23-for-77) with five home runs and a .943 OPS. He was originally selected by Anaheim in the second round (57th overall) of the 2001 First-Year Player Draft and made his MLB debut on Sept. 10, 2004 vs. Chicago (AL). In 139 career MLB games between the Angels (2004-06), Marlins (2008) and White Sox (2011), he compiled a .241 average (93-for-386), 18 home runs and 45 RBI.
The Indians open the 2023 season on Friday, March 31 against the Omaha Storm Chasers at Victory Field. Full season, half season and mini plans are on sale, and group and premium reservations may also be made. For more on the Indians, visit IndyIndians.com or contact the Victory Field Box Office at (317) 269-3545 or [email protected].