SALISBURY, Md.- The Delmarva Shorebirds, class "A" affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles, announced Thursday that former Orioles infielder and South Atlantic League All-Star, Ryan Minor, will return to manage the Shorebirds in 2014.
Former Orioles reliever and 12-year Major League Baseball veteran Alan Mills will serve as the pitching coach while former Shorebirds second baseman Paco Figueroa will serve as the hitting coach.
Minor enters the season 45 wins shy of becoming the winningest manager in Shorebirds franchise history. Joe Ferguson, who managed the Shorebirds from 2000-02, won a franchise record 211 games.
"We're excited to have Ryan Minor return to lead the Shorebirds in 2014," said Shorebirds general manager Chris Bitters. "The additions of Alan Mills and Paco Figueroa will give us a great staff that both Orioles and Shorebirds fans should be familiar with."
Minor, 40, managed the Shorebirds for three seasons (2010-12) before serving in the same role for the Frederick Keys (Advanced-A) last season. In 2013, he guided the Keys to a 61-78 mark. The 2014 season will mark his sixth season on the Shorebirds coaching staff. Minor also spent two seasons (2008-09) as the hitting coach for the Shorebirds.
"I am excited for the opportunity to return to Delmarva for the upcoming season," said Minor. "Getting to work in my hometown close to my family and the people of the Delmarva Peninsula that have been great to me over the years is something I look forward to."
During his three-year run as manager of the Shorebirds, the team compiled 166 wins. The Shorebirds also credited Minor for his influence in the development of current Orioles third baseman Manny Machado, who played for the Shorebirds in 2011. Minor also helped develop current prospects such as Michael Ohlman, Jonathan Schoop, Steve Bumbry and Nicky Delmonico.
Minor, a longtime resident of Salisbury with his wife Allyson and two children Reagan (7) and Finley (3-months), enjoyed a four-year run in the major leagues from 1998 through 2001. He spent his first three years with the Orioles and his final season with the Montreal Expos. In 142 major league games, he recorded 56 hits and connected on five home runs.
Minor's playing career is best remembered for replacing Cal Ripken Jr. at shortstop on September 20, 1998 when the consecutive games streak of 2,131 came to a close.
The Orioles drafted Minor in the 33rd round of the 1996 First Year Player Draft out of the University of Oklahoma. In 1997, he played for the Shorebirds and was an SAL All-Star third baseman. He batted .307 with 24 home runs and 97 RBIs. Minor still owns the franchise single season records for hits (150), RBIs (97) and doubles (42).
Minor also owns a decorated college basketball career. He is sixth all-time in scoring at Oklahoma with 1,946 points. Minor was named the AP Big Eight (now Big 12) Player of the Year following the 1994-95 season when he averaged 23.6 points and 8.4 rebounds. He was selected in the second round (32nd overall) of the 1996 NBA draft by the Philadelphia 76ers.
Mills, 47, enters his first season as the Shorebirds pitching coach. He spent the last two seasons as the pitching coach for the Aberdeen Ironbirds. In 2013, Mills was instrumental in the development of prominent pitching prospects like Sebastian Vader, who finished 8th in the New York-Penn League with a 2.46 ERA. Mills also helped bring along first round draft pick Hunter Harvey, who pitched well in important games down the stretch of 2013.
Mills, who was selected in the first round of the 1986 amateur draft (8th overall) by the California Angels, spent 12 seasons pitching in the major leagues as a reliever. He posted a 39-32 record with a lifetime 4.12 ERA. Mills pitched for the Orioles from 1992 through 1998. In 1992, he went 10-4 with a 2.61 ERA in 35 appearances for the Orioles.
Mills also pitched for the New York Yankees (1990-91) and Los Angeles Dodgers (1999-2000).
He finished his big league career with the Orioles in 2001.
The Lakeland, Fla., native first broke into coaching in 2008 with the Oneonta Tigers (Short-Season A, Tigers).
Figueroa, 30, will begin his first season as the Shorebirds hitting coach. Figueroa played for the Shorebirds in 2005 and 2008.
After being selected by the Orioles in the ninth round of the 2005 First Year Player Draft out of the University of Miami, Figueroa played 40 games for the Shorebirds and batted .307 during the '05 season. He played an integral part in leading the Shorebirds to their last postseason appearance.
In 2008, Figueroa returned to the Shorebirds for 22 games and batted .317.
His playing career progressed to Double-A Bowie in 2009 and 2010. The majority of his 2010 season was spent in Triple-A Norfolk. In 90 games, he batted .266
Figueroa spent one season (2011) in the Philadelphia Phillies system with the Reading Phillies (Double-A). In 2012, Figueroa signed with the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs (Independent, Atlantic League).
He played in the World Baseball Classic in 2013 for Team Spain.
Figueroa's twin brother, Daniel, also played for the Shorebirds during the 2006 and 2007 seasons.
The new Shorebirds athletic trainer, Trek Schuler, is also a familiar name for longtime fans of the Shorebirds. He was the athletic trainer in Delmarva from 2001 through the 2003 season. The 2014 campaign marks his 15th as a trainer in the Orioles organization.
He was the athletic trainer in Aberdeen for the last five years.
Strength and Conditioning Coach Trevor Howell returns for his second season with the Shorebirds.
2013 Shorebirds manager Luis Pujols will manage the Frederick Keys in 2014. Last year's pitching coach, Justin Lord, will occupy the same role with the Aberdeen Ironbirds in 2014.
Ryan Minor will lead the Shorebirds into the season opener on April 3 at Asheville. The home opener is scheduled for April 10 against Greensboro at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium.
For season tickets, contact the Shorebirds at (410) 219-3112.