GREENVILLE, S.C. -- The Boston Red Sox have announced their minor league coaching staffs for the upcoming season, and there will be familiar faces on board as the Greenville Drive begin their second decade in Downtown Greenville and aim for a South Atlantic League championship in 2016.
Darren Fenster returns as the Drive's manager for the third season, becoming the first manager in franchise history to do so. Walter Miranda is back for his second consecutive year as the Drive's pitching coach, and professional baseball veteran Lee May, Jr. will take over as hitting coach.
Also returning to the Drive for the 2016 season is Athletic Trainer Nick Faciana, who held the same role with Greenville last year.
"The 2015 season was a huge success for the Drive, both on and off the field, and we are ready for another outstanding year of baseball in Downtown Greenville." said Drive General Manager Eric Jarinko. "Our 72 wins last season were the highest total since 2011, and we welcomed over 346,000 fans through the Fluor Field gates as part of the celebration of our 10th anniversary season."
"We're excited to bring back Darren, Walter and Nick, who played crucial roles in our terrific season on the field in 2015, and we're also looking forward to welcoming Lee into the Greenville community."
The 37-year old Fenster will begin his third season at the helm of the Drive, and his fourth season managing in the Red Sox organization. He began his professional career with the Drive as hitting coach in 2012 before moving to managing with the Gulf Coast League Red Sox in 2013. In his first three seasons as manager, Fenster has logged a pair of winning seasons, including a runner-up finish in the Gulf Coast League in his first year as a manager.
Before joining the Red Sox, Fenster spent six seasons on the staff of his alma mater, Rutgers University, as the Director of Baseball Operations and Assistant Coach. One of the top players in Scarlet Knights history, he was a two-time All-American and the Big East Player of the Year in 2000. A former shortstop, he set school records in several offensive categories that still stand today, including career hits (315), single-season hits (101), and doubles (65).
Drafted in the 12th round by Kansas City Royals following his All-American season in 2000, Fenster advanced to the Double-A level in the Royals system and was a Carolina League All-Star in both 2002 and 2004. Following a breakout season in 2004 where he hit a career-best .302 between Class-A Wilmington and Class-AA Wichita, Fenster was a non-roster invitee to the Royals major league Spring Training camp in 2005.
Miranda will begin his second consecutive season as Drive pitching coach in 2016, and his third overall, as he previously held the role in 2007. In 2015, Greenville's staff posted a 3.93 ERA and eight shutouts, and two of his pitchers, Mario Alcantara and Michael Kopech, were selected at midseason as South Atlantic League All-Stars.
The 41-year old has been coaching in the Red Sox organization since 2000, and in addition to his time in Greenville, he has served as pitching coach for the Gulf Coast League Red Sox (2000-04, 2009-12) and the Lowell Spinners (2005-06, 2008, 2013-14).
He entered the professional coaching ranks after pitching for four seasons in the Marlins organization from 1994-1997, compiling a 16-13 record with a 3.80 ERA in 45 appearances.
May, Jr. joins the Red Sox organization after spending the previous four years as the minor league hitting coordinator for the Seattle Mariners. Prior to joining the Mariners, he served as a manager and coach in the Cleveland Indians system for seven seasons beginning in 2004. He began his coaching career in the New York Mets organization in 1999. May's son, Jacob, currently plays professionally in the Chicago White Sox system.
The 47-year old was selected by the Mets in the first round of the 1986 MLB Draft out of an Ohio high school. He played in the minor leagues for eight seasons from 1986-1993 in the Mets and Royals organizations and reached AAA with 149 stolen bases in his professional career.
Faciana returns to Greenville for his second season as the Drive's athletic trainer. 2016 will be his third year in the Red Sox system, as he previously held the role of athletic trainer for the Lowell Spinners in 2014. Before joining the Red Sox, he was a rehabilitation intern for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2013 and an athletic trainer in the Cleveland Indians organization from 2010-2012.
A University of Akron graduate with both bachelor's and master's degrees, Faciana was a graduate assistant and interim athletic trainer for Akron's football team from 2011-2013.
Nelson Paulino, the Drive's hitting coach in 2014-15, will hold the same role for the Salem Red Sox in 2016, while last season's assistant coach, Justin Henry, has taken a scouting position with the Detroit Tigers.
"The Red Sox are an elite organization from top to bottom, and that includes their player development staff," said Drive Owner and Team President Craig Brown. "Boston's major league roster features outstanding young players such as Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts and Blake Swihart as well as veterans like Clay Buchholz who are all products of the Red Sox development system."
"With Darren, Walter and Nick back in Greenville, as well as having Lee on board, our players will benefit from playing with outstanding teachers all season long, and our fans will get to witness some of the top talent in the Boston organization on a nightly basis at Fluor Field. We can't wait to get the 2016 season started."