JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Jacksonville Suns, the Double-A affiliate of the Miami Marlins, proudly announce that Andy Barkett will again return to Jacksonville to serve as the team's manager for the 2014 season. Rejoining Barkett will be his 2013 field staff with John Duffy as pitching coach, and hitting coach Kevin Randel and coach Rich Arena. New to the staff in 2014 is athletic trainer Cesar Roman and strength and conditioning coach Scott Smith.
"I'm looking forward to coming back for another year in Jacksonville," said Barkett. "It's been a great run the past three years. I love the people, I love the fans, the Bragan family has treated me like gold my whole time there. I'm very happy to have our staff back, we will miss last year's trainer Masa Fujimoto and strength coach Jeremy McCann but we have some good guys coming in to pick up where they left off. Jacksonville has become a home away from home for my family and I. We're excited about our team, our young players in the Marlins organization, and just the direction the Marlins organization is going as a whole."
Barkett returns for his fourth season as Jacksonville manager and his eighth season as a skipper in Minor League Baseball. In 2013 he led the Suns to their first winning record in his tenure, with Jacksonville finishing ten games above the five hundred mark at 73-63. Barkett began his managerial career with the Tigers organization managing the Oneonta Tigers of the New York-Penn League in 2007, where he led the Tigers to the playoffs, followed by the Lakeland Flying Tigers of the Florida State League from 2008-2010. As a player, Barkett spent 10 years in professional baseball with six organizations as a first baseman and outfielder, and spent part of the 2001 season in the Major Leagues with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Duffy returns for his fifth season as Suns pitching coach and his ninth year in the Marlins organization. In 2006 he served as the pitching coach for the Jamestown Jammers before he was pitching coach with the Greensboro Grasshoppers from 2007-08. After a season as the pitching coach with the Jupiter Hammerheads in 2009, Duffy joined the Suns as pitching coach in 2010 as Jacksonville won the Southern League championship, and has remained with the Suns since that season. As a player Duffy spent six seasons in the Detroit Tigers organization.
Randel returns for his third season as Suns hitting coach and his fifth year in the Marlins organization. After serving as the hitting coach for the Greensboro Grasshoppers from 2010-11, Randel made his return to Jacksonville as a coach in 2012. Randel played in the Marlins organization from 2002-09, including the 2009 season as an infielder with the Southern League champion Jacksonville Suns.
Arena returns for his second season assisting Suns hitters and this will be his third season in the Marlins organization. He was the hitting coach for the 2012 Jamestown Jammers before joining Barkett's staff in Jacksonville last season. Prior to his time with the Marlins he was the Director of Scouting for Team One Management in Tampa, Fla. He was also the head coach at his alma mater, Tampa Catholic (FL) High School from 2007-09, where he compiled a 53-18 record. He spent the previous 10 years with the New York Yankees as a scout and coach in their Minor League system.
2014 will mark Roman's first year as trainer of the Suns, and his third consecutive year in the Marlins organization, spending the last two seasons with the GCL Marlins. Prior to his stint as Assistant Athletic Trainer at Palm Beach Atlantic University in 2012, Roman was a member of the Marlins' athletic training staff from 2007-11. He spent the previous four years (2003-06) working in the Rangers' organization.
Smith is entering his first year as the Suns strength and conditioning coach and his first year in the Marlins organization.
Smith has been the strength and conditioning coach at Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville, Ga., since August 2012. Prior to his time there, Smith was a strength coach with minor league teams in the San Diego Padres, Tampa Bay Rays, and Washington Nationals organizations.
The 2014 season of Jacksonville Suns baseball at Bragan Field will begin on April 3 as the Suns host the Huntsville Stars on Opening Night at 7:05 p.m. Fans are encouraged to call 358-2846 for ticket information, or visit www.jaxsuns.com.
For the latest Suns news this offseason, fans are encouraged to visit www.jaxsuns.com and can keep up with the Jacksonville Suns on the club's Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram social media platforms, as well as the "Tales from Bragan Field" blog: www.sunsradio.com.