PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (January 19, 2017) - The New York Mets have announced that Chad Kreuter will take over as manager of the St. Lucie Mets for the 2017 season.
Kreuter, 52, comes from outside the Mets organization and will be the 17th field manager in St. Lucie history. He played 16 years as a catcher in the major leagues from 1988-2003.
"I'm extremely excited," Kreuter said. "It is an honor to be named a manager in professional baseball. The Mets are a great organization. They have shown the ability to produce great homegrown talent. It looks like it will continue that way so to be able to manage one of their young teams is really exciting."
Kreuter's 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 and managed current Met Lucas Duda.
Kreuter served as the minor league field coordinator for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2011.
"I think my background serves as a avenue to help the younger players," Kreuter said. "My purpose is to help the Mets organization develop young players and send them to the next level ready to play and to teach them how to win. I think the sum of my experience as a player, professional coach and collegiate coach is to bring that together and help mold players into what the Mets need them to be."
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 vs. Oakland. 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.
Luis Rojas, the previous St. Lucie manager from 2015-16, will manage the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies. Rojas led the Mets to the FSL South Division second half title in 2016.
Marc Valdes returns for his second 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, 45, 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.
Valentino Pascucci also returns for his second season as hitting coach. Pascucci spent the 2014-15 seasons as Savannah's hitting coach after retiring from playing in 2013.
Pascucci appeared in 10 games with the Mets in 2011, hitting one home run. He played in the 32 games with the Expos in 2004, including the final game in Expos history on Oct. 3, 2004 at Shea Stadium.
Pascucci, 38, played in the Japanese Pacific League and helped the Chiba Lotte Marines capture the 2005 championship. He combined to hit 281 home runs over 13 minor league seasons.
Matt Hunter returns for his fourth consecutive season as the athletic trainer. Hunter, 37, was also the St. Lucie trainer from 2009-10. From 2011-13 he was the trainer for Binghamton.
This will mark Hunter's 13th season in the Mets system. In 2004 he graduated from the University of Florida with a Master of Science degree in Athletic Training/Sports Management.
Alex Tavarez joins St. Lucie as the new strength and conditioning coach. It is Tavarez's fourth season with the Mets. In 2016 he was the strength coach for the Columbia Fireflies. 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, 26, graduated from Florida Atlantic in 2013 with a B.S. in Exercise Science and Health Promotion.
A new addition to the staff in 2017 is the position of mental skills coach. The role will be filled by Sabrina Gomez, who was 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 6 at Tradition Field vs. the Palm Beach Cardinals. 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.