SALT LAKE CITY (January 31, 2018) - Keith Johnson will return for his seventh season as Salt Lake Bees manager, the Los Angeles Angels and Bees announced today. Johnson will be joined on staff by pitching coach Erik Bennett, hitting coach Donnie Ecker, defensive coach Ray Olmedo, trainer Brian Reinker and strength and conditioning coach Adam Auer.
In six previous seasons as Bees manager Johnson, the 2013 Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year, has compiled a 408-452 (.475) record. Johnson is the second winningest manager in Salt Lake franchise history and needs 63 wins to match Phil Roof's franchise record for most managerial wins in team history. A Salt Lake City native, Johnson enters his 27th season in professional baseball which includes a 12-year playing career and 15 seasons as a coach and manager in the Angels organization.
Bennett is entering his 11th season as the pitching coach for the Bees. The former Major League reliever enjoyed a 10-year professional playing career which included stints with the Angels, Minnesota Twins and Salt Lake Buzz. In 2017 Bennett's pitching staff held a 4.94 ERA, the lowest mark for Salt Lake since 2008. Under his guidance pitchers Keynan Middleton, Eduardo Paredes and Troy Scribner each made their Major League debut with the Angels and Scribner became the first Bees starting pitcher to make the Pacific Coast League All-Star team since Joe Saunders in 2006.
The 2018 season will be Ecker's first with the Bees and the Angels organization. The 31-year old played baseball collegiately at Lewis-Clark State College and was drafted in the 22nd round of the 2007 MLB draft by the Texas Rangers. Ecker played professionally for four seasons in the Rangers system and Independent Leagues. After his playing career, Ecker has worked as the head baseball coach at his alma mater Los Altos High School and as a hitting coach for Single-A Palm Beach in the St. Louis Cardinals organization.
Olmedo joins the club in the newly created defensive coach position. The Venezuelan native played professionally for 17 seasons including Major League stints with Cincinnati (2003-2006), Toronto (2007) and Chicago White Sox (2012) and parts of 12 season at the Triple-A level. Olmedo was well respected on defense during his playing career rating as the Best Defensive Infielder in the Cincinnati Reds system after the 2000 season according to Baseball America.
Reinker will serve as the Salt Lake trainer for the 11th consecutive season and is in his 15th season with the Angels organization. In 2015 Reinker was named the Pacific Coast League Athletic Trainer of the Year by the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society.
Auer joins the Bees as the strength and conditioning coach from Double-A Mobile where he served in the same role for the BayBears in 2017. Auer is entering his sixth season in the Angels organization after spending 2013 with the Rookie level Orem Owlz, 2014-15 with Single-A Burlington and 2016-2017 with the Angels Double-A affiliate.
The Bees start the 2018 season on Thursday, April 5 against the Albuquerque Isotopes at Smith's Ballpark. Season tickets and mini-packs are on sale now by calling 801-325-BEES (2337), single game tickets go on sale on March 1 at www.slbees.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.