SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, are pleased to announce the team's new coaching staff for 2014. Manager Billy Gardner, Jr., hitting coach Joe Dillon and pitching coach Paul Menhart will all spend their first seasons on the Chiefs' staff this upcoming year.
Gardner joins the Nationals organization for the first time after 19 previous seasons as a Minor-League manager. Gardner has managed Minor League teams with the Boston Red Sox, Kansas City Royals, Cincinnati Reds and Tampa Bay Rays. Most recently, he served as the manager of the Rays' Double-A affiliate, the Montgomery Biscuits, for seven years from 2007-13, posting a record of 497-475 (.511). He was named the Southern League Manager of the Year in 2012. He played in the Royals' system in 1987 and 1988 after being selected in the 50th round of the 1987 Draft. This season will mark his first at the Triple-A level.
Dillon will make his professional coaching debut with the Chiefs in 2013. Dillon played professionally from 1997 to 2010, appearing in 137 games over parts of four seasons in the Major Leagues with the Florida Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers and Tampa Bay Rays. He also played in the Kansas City Royals and Minnesota Twins organizations, appearing in a total of 1,053 Minor League games, including 528 at the Triple-A level. Dillon recently worked as a volunteer assistant coach for his alma mater, Texas Tech University.
Menhart joins the Chiefs after spending two seasons at Double-A Harrisburg. 2014 will mark his ninth consecutive season at a pitching coach in the Nationals system, with previous stops at Savannah, Hagerstown and Potomac. Menhart pitched in 41 games (23 starts) over parts of three Major League seasons from 1995-97 with the Toronto Blue Jays, Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres. He spent additional time in the organizations of the Florida Marlins, Anaheim Angels and Cleveland Indians. Menhart also pitched in 35 starts for the Chiefs between 1993 and 1995.
The Chiefs' new staff will begin their 2014 season on Thursday, April 3 at 2:00 pm vs. the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.