(Eastlake, OH) - The Lake County Captains and the Cleveland Indians announced the 2009 Captains field staff today and it features individuals who have previously worked in Lake County at some point in the club's six-year history. Led by returning manager Aaron Holbert, the staff will consist of pitching coach Tony Arnold and Jim Rickon, who returns for his third straight season with the Captains. Jeremy Heller will also return for his third season as the club's head athletic trainer.
Holbert returns for his second year as the Captains manager after leading Lake County to a first half South Atlantic League Northern Division Championship in 2008. For his efforts, Holbert was honored by the SAL by being named as the manager of the Northern squad in the circuit's All Star Game. Holbert is only the second manager to manage the Captains for more than one year, the other being popular manager Luis Rivera, who was the Captains first manager in 2003 and 2004 and is now the first base coach of the Cleveland Indians. Holbert also coached in the Hawaiian Fall league following the 2008 season. Holbert joined the Cleveland Indians organization in 2008 after spending time coaching in the Cincinnati Reds organization. Holbert was drafted in the first round (18th overall) by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1990. He played 17 seasons of professional baseball for St. Louis, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Boston, Florida, Toronto and Cincinnati. He made his major league debut in 1996 with the Cardinals and then returned to the big leagues in 2005 with the Reds. Aaron lives in Tampa, Florida with his wife Jacqueline.
Arnold returns to the Captains in 2009 to serve as the team's pitching coach. He has been in the Indians organization for 17 years and served as the pitching coach in Lake County during the team's inaugural season in 2003 as well as in 2004. In 2003, Arnold's Captains pitching staff had a league leading ERA of 2.67. Arnold was named coach of the year in the South Atlantic League that year. Since leaving Lake County after the 2004 season, Arnold has been the pitching coach in Mahoning Valley in 2005, Burlington in 2006, Kinston in 2007 and Akron in 2008. Arnold was part of the 2007 Kinston Indians championship team and his pitching staff had the second best ERA in the Carolina league at 3.53. A tenth round selection in the 1981 draft by the Baltimore Orioles, Arnold spent ten years playing professionally. He made his major league debut with the Orioles in 1986 and was 0-2 with a 3.55 ERA in 11 relief appearances. In 1987, his only other year in the majors, he did not receive a decision in 27 relief appearances. He owned a career major league record of 0-2 with a 5.06 ERA. Arnold also played three years in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization and began his coaching career in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, serving as the Single A pitching coach from 1990 - 1992. Prior to his first stint in Lake County he coached in Burlington, Watertown, Kinston, and Akron. Tony and his wife Sara reside in Palm City, FL with their three children Devin, Caroline, and Avery.
Rickon, a Cleveland area native and resident, will return for his third straight year as the Captains hitting coach. This will be Rickon's fourth year overall with the team as he had the same position with the Captains in 2005. Rickon spent 2006 as the hitting coach for the Kinston Indians, helping lead the K-Tribe to the Carolina League Championship. The 2009 season will mark Rickon's 11th season as a member of the Indians organization. He spent three seasons as an active player in the Indians minor league system from 1999-2001. From 2002-2004 he was a player-coach for the Mahoning Valley Scrappers. He was originally signed as a non-drafted free agent out of Cleveland State University. Rickon graduated from Maple Heights High School where he played football and baseball. In the off-season he lives in Hudson with his wife Adriana and their son Mason.
Heller returns to Lake County in 2009 and is entering his fifth season of professional baseball, all with the Cleveland Indians organization. Previously he spent two seasons with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers of the New York-Penn League. Jeremy is a Red Bud, Illinois native and graduated from Millikin University (Decatur, IL) with a B.S. triple emphasis in Athletic Training, Sport Management, and Fitness and Sport. He received his Masters Degree in instructional leadership from Tennessee Technological University in 2005. Jeremy lives in Lakewood and is engaged to be married.
The Lake County Captains are a Class A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians and play their home games at Classic Park in Eastlake, at the corner of State Route 91 and Vine Street. The regular season home opener is scheduled for April 9 versus the Hagerstown Suns, the Class A affiliate for the Washington Nationals. For more information on the Captains, please visit the team's official website at www.captainsbaseball.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.