PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (January 23, 2018) - The St. Lucie Mets are pleased to announce that Chad Kreuter will return as manager of the team for the 2018 season.
Kreuter, 53, joined the Mets from outside the organization in 2017 and managed St. Lucie to a 63-75 record in his first year as skipper.
"I am excited to be returning as the St. Lucie Mets manager, and I am looking forward to working with and helping develop the New York Mets fine young talent once again," Kreuter said. "We are fortunate to have excellent facilities and a great fanbase that was supportive and warm to the players and staff around the community and at First Data Field. Let's get ready for Opening Night on April 5th."
Kreuter's other managerial experience includes stints with the Colorado Rockies and University of Southern California Trojans. He managed the Modesto Nuts (Advanced-A) of the California League in the Rockies system in 2006 before being named the coach at USC.
In four seasons with the Trojans (2007-10) Kreuter went 111-117.
Kreuter served as the minor league field coordinator for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2011.
As a player Kreuter suited up for seven different teams. He made his debut in 1988 with the Texas Rangers and hit a home run in his first game. Kreuter enjoyed his best season with Detroit in 1993 when he batted a career-high .286 and clubbed 23 doubles, 15 home runs and drove in 51 runs over 119 games.
He also spent time with Seattle (1995), Chicago-AL (1996-98), Anaheim (1997-98), Kansas City (1999), Los Angeles-NL (2000-02) and Texas again (2003).
Kreuter played collegiately at Pepperdine University and was selected in the fifth round of the 1985 draft.
Marc Valdes returns for his third season as the St. Lucie pitching coach.
Valdes was the Class-A Savannah pitching coach from 2014-15. From 2012-13 Valdes was the pitching coach for Brooklyn. He was in the same role for Binghamton (AA) in 2011. In 2007-08 he coached at Kingsport (R) in the Appalachian League.
Valdes, 46, pitched in the majors for six seasons (1995-2001) with Florida, Montreal and Atlanta. In 144 games (22 starts), he went 12-15 with four saves and a 4.95 ERA.
Valdes played collegiately at Florida. He left the Gators as their all-time leader in wins (31) and innings (394.2). He was the Marlins first draft pick in 1993.
Joel Fuentes, 41, begins his third stint as St. Lucie's hitting coach. He spent the last two seasons as the hitting coach for the Columbia Fireflies. Previously, Fuentes was the St. Lucie hitting coach from 2014-2015 as well as 2010-11.
The 2018 season will be Fuentes' 12th year with the Mets organization. As a player, Fuentes spent 1997-2003 in the San Francisco Giants system.
Matt Hunter returns for his fifth consecutive season as the athletic trainer. Hunter, 38, was also the St. Lucie trainer from 2009-10. From 2011-13 he was the trainer for Binghamton.
This will mark Hunter's 14th season with the Mets. In 2004 he graduated from the University of Florida with a Master of Science degree in Athletic Training/Sports Management.
Alex Tavarez is back in St. Lucie for the second consecutive year as strength and conditioning coach. It is Tavarez's fifth season with the Mets. In 2016 he was the strength coach for Columbia. He was with Kingsport from 2014-15.
Prior to joining the Mets, Tavarez worked as a strength and conditioning coach at Saint Leo University.
Tavarez, 27, graduated from Florida Atlantic in 2013 with a B.S. in Exercise Science and Health Promotion.
Sabrina Gomez returns for her second season as St. Lucie's mental skills coach. Gomez was previously an intern with the Gulf Coast Mets in 2016. Gomez received her master's degree in sports psychology from Barry University in Miami.
The St. Lucie Mets open their season on April 5th at First Data Field vs. the Bradenton Marauders. Call 772-871-2115 for more information.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.