(Reading, PA) - The Philadelphia Phillies announced today that Al Pedrique will return as the manager of the Reading Fightin Phils for the 2024 season. Pedrique returns to Reading after leading the R-Phils in 2023.
Pedrique finished 59-77 with Reading in 2023, but his team boasted many accomplishments on the field. He oversaw a roster that had 61 players pass through Reading, with 17 receiving a call up to Triple-A Lehigh Valley during the season. Additionally, three players that played with Reading last season also appeared in big league games in Johan Rojas, Drew Ellis and Orion Kerkering. Rojas and Kerkering both made their Major League debuts in 2023.
"Getting back to Reading is always nice," Pedrique said. "My wife and I fell in love with the town and the stadium. The front office is awesome to work with. The fan support was outstanding and we are very happy and pleased to be back in Reading."
Some of Reading's other accomplishments in 2023 under Pedrique include:
- Reading had two players hit over 20 home runs: Carlos De La Cruz and Oliver Dunn.
- The Fightin Phils boasted the Eastern League's best batting average in the first half of the season at .267.
- Reading’s 601 runs in 2023 is their most since scoring 642 in 2017. Their 1,082 hits were the most since 1,104 in 2018.
- Reading’s 159 home runs in 2023 were their most since hitting 185 back in 2016. The R-Phils have hit 150+ home runs just four times in their history (2023, 2017, 2016, 2004). They ranked third in the Eastern League in home runs in 2023.
- Reading ranked second in the Eastern League with 229 doubles and was third in the league with a .406 slugging percentage.
- Reading’s 119 stolen bases in 2023 were their most since swiping 130 bags in 2010. Since 2009, Reading has only stolen 115+ bases four times (2009, '10, '19, '23).
- Oliver Dunn and Carlos De La Cruz were selected as Eastern League All-Stars.
- Oliver Dunn, Matthew Kroon, Jordi Martinez, Andrew Baker and Dominic Pipkin were selected to participate in the Arizona Fall League.
- Johan Rojas and Orion Kerkering were selected as the Paul Owens Award winners by the Phillies.
- Had eight members from 2023 team invited to Phillies major league spring training.
Additionally, Pedrique earned his 1,000th managerial win as a Major/Minor League manager in Reading's win at New Hampshire on August 13, 2023. In total, Pedrique enters 2024 with 1,013 victories in his decorated Managerial career.
Prior to joining the Phillies organization in 2023, Pedrique was apart of the Marlins for two seasons. He spent 2022 as the third base coach for Miami under Don Mattingly. In 2021, Pedrique managed Miami's Triple-A Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp. He guided Jacksonville to a 75-55 record and postseason appearance in his lone season.
Pedrique served as apart of the Oakland Athletics' Major League staff from the 2018-20 seasons. He began as the A's first-base coach in 2018 and shifted to third-base coach in his final two seasons with Oakland.
He enjoyed much of his Minor League managerial success during his tenure with the New York Yankees. Pedrique was with the Yankees from 2013-17 and managed Charleston in 2013, Tampa in 2014, Trenton in 2015 and then Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2016-17. Pedrique posted a .500 or better record in each season as a manager in the Yankees' organization, while additionally winning the Triple-A National Championship in 2016 and falling in the International League finals the following season. Overall, Pedrique posted a 394-309 record over his five seasons with New York.
Prior to his time with the Yankees, Pedrique also made a stop with the Houston Astros. He served as the bench coach and also a special assistant. Most notably, Pedrique played a pivotal role in the Astros' scouting and eventual signing of All-Star Joe Altuve.
Pedrique's lone Major League managerial experience came in 2004 when he was tabbed as the Arizona Diamondbacks Interim Manager following Bob Brenly's firing on July 2 of that season. Pedrique posted a 22-61 record over the rest of the season for Arizona. Pedrique previously spent 2001-03 seasons as a Minor League manager in the Diamondbacks organization.
He spent two seasons as the manager of the Michigan Battle Cats in Astros' organization in 1999 and 2000, posting winning records in both seasons and winning the Midwest League Championship in 2000. Pedrique began his professional managerial career in the Kansas City Royals' organization in 1995. HIs first managerial job was for the Spokane Indians in 1995 and then he managed GCL Royals in 1996 and '97.
Here is a breakdown of Pedrique's Managerial Stops and Records:
1995: Spokane Indians (Kansas City) 36-40
1996: GCL Royals (Kansas City) 30-29
1997: GCL Royals (Kansas City) 36-24
1999: Michigan Battle Cats (Houston) 76-62
2000: Michigan Battle Cats (Houston) 82-56
2001: El Paso Diablos (Arizona) 57-83
2002: Tucson Sidewinders (Arizona) 73-68
2003: Tucson Sidewinders (Arizona) 73-71
2004: Arizona Diamondbacks 22-61
2013: Charleston RiverDogs (New York Yankees) 75-63
2014: Tampa Yankees (New York Yankees) 71-68
2015: Trenton Thunder (New York Yankees) 71-71
2016: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (New York Yankees) 91-52
2017: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (New York Yankees) 86-55
2021: Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (Miami) 75-55
2023: Reading Fightin Phils (Philadelphia) 59-77
Overall Record: 1,013-935 (.520)
Minor League Record: 991-874 (.531)
Major League Record: 22-61 (.265)
Prior to beginning his managerial career, Pedrique played professionally 1978-1994 after signing with the New York Mets at 17-years old in 1978. His playing career included stops within the Mets, Pirates, Tigers, Athletics, Royals and Marlins organization. He made his Major League debut in 1987 with the Mets and spent parts of three seasons with New York, the Pittsburgh Pirates and Detroit Tigers in the Major Leagues. Pedrique spent a total of 17 seasons in the Minor Leagues before retiring from playing in 1994.
"Our goal is to win more games and bring a Championship to Reading," Pedrique added. "We're very excited to be back. We love everything about Reading. I know it's going to be a good year and I'm looking forward to being back soon."
Joining Pedrique in 2024 will be a staff with extensive experience within the Phillies organization:
Phil Cundari joins the Fightin Phils as one of the team's Pitching Coaches. It will be Cundari's first season with Reading and second within the Phillies organization, as he spent 2023 as the pitching coach for High-A Jersey Shore. He previously spent three seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays, including the final two with Toronto's High-A Vancouver. Cundari is from Cliffside Park, New Jersey, and was an All-American pitcher at Seton Hall. He was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 1985 draft. Following his playing days, Cundari spent 18 years as the Pitching Coach at Seton Hall and two with the same role at Rutgers before joining the Blue Jays in 2020. Away from the baseball field, Cundari is a sports performance consultant. He is a licensed psychotherapist who specializes in mental toughness in peak performance training for athletes.
Riley McCauley joins Cundari as the Fightin Phils Pitching Coach in 2024. McCauley spent 2023 as the pitching coach under former R-Phils Manager Shawn Williams with the FCL Phillies. It was his first full season with the Phillies as he was hired in July of 2022 by the organization. Prior to joining the Phillies, McCauley spent one year as an Assistant Coach at Troy University in Alabama. Prior to joining Troy, McCauley worked as a Pitching Coach and Strength/Conditioning Coach for Cressey Sports Performance. McCauley pitched collegiately for Michigan State from 2016-18, where he posted a sub 2.50 ERA in his first two seasons as a reliever. McCauley was drafted in the 14th Round of the 2018 Draft by the Chicago Cubs. The 27-year old spent 2018 and '19 in the Cubs system before entering coaching.
Brock Stassi returns to Reading as the Fightin Phils Hitting Coach after playing for Reading in 2014, '15, '17 and '21. 2024 will be Stassi's second season as a coach in the Phillies organization, as he served as High-A Jersey Shore's Hitting Coach in 2023. He oversaw a BlueClaws offense that helped Jersey Shore to a postseason appearance in 2023. Stassi was a 33rd Round pick by the Phillies out of Nevada in 2011 and made his Major League Debut with Philadelphia in 2017. En route to the big leagues, Stassi had an excellent 2015 season with Reading, where he hit .300 with 15 home runs. Stassi additionally spent time as a player in the San Francisco Giants organization before returning to the Phillies in 2021.
Karl Ellison joins the Phillies organization for his first season in 2024 and will serve as the Fightin Phils Development Coach. Ellison most recently spent 2023 as a catcher in the Toronto Blue Jays organization. He split 2023 between Vancouver, New Hampshire and Buffalo. Ellison began 2022 in the Phillies organization, spending most of his time playing for High-A Jersey Shore, but spent some time with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He was traded to the Blue Jays from the Phillies on Aug. 31, 2022. Ellison played collegiately for Vanderbilt from 2014-16, winning a National Championship in 2014, and finished his college career at Lynn in 2017. From there, he spent 2019 and '21 playing for Lake Erie in the Frontier League, before signing with the Phillies.
Meaghan Flaherty enters her first season with the Fightin Phils as the team's Athletic Trainer. 2024 will be her fourth season with the Phillies organization, as she spent last season as the Athletic Trainer with the High-A Jersey Shore Blue Claws. Flaherty was hired by the Phillies in 2020 and spent 2022 as the Assistant Athletic Trainer with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Prior to joining the Phillies, Flaherty spent the 2019 season as an Athletic Training Intern with the Rookie Level Arizona League Cubs. She also graduated from Bridgewater State University with a Master's Degree in Athletic Training. Flaherty also previously worked as an Athletic Trainer in the Cape Cod Baseball League and for multiple Division I NCAA programs and sports medicine clinics. She received her Bachelor's Degree in 2017 from UMASS-Amherst.
Bruce Peditto returns for his third season with the Fightin Phils as the team's Strength and Conditioning Coach. Peditto has worked within the Phillies organization since 2017 and is entering his sixth season. He spent 2019 and 2021 with the High-A Jersey Shore Blue Claws and joined Reading for the 2022 season. Peditto previously worked as the Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Peddie School in New Jersey from 2015-17. He attended and graduated from DeSales University in 2015 with a Bachelor's Degree in Sport and Exercise Science. He additionally was a member of De Sales' lacrosse team.
The Reading Fightin Phils return to FirstEnergy Stadium to open the 2024 season on April 9, 2024, against the Portland Sea Dogs. Season tickets, mini plans, and group outings for 2024 are now available. For more details, go to rphils.com, call 610-370-BALL, or at the Customers Bank Ticket Office.
The 2024 R-Phils season is presented by Pepsi. Follow the Fightin Phils on Twitter @ReadingFightins, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Instagram @Fightins.