December

20

Mientkiewicz returns as Mud Hens manager Mike Hessman joins Toledo coaching staff

Posted Dec 20th, 2018 by Andi Roman  Category: Community Interest, General Interests, Toledo.com

 

TOLEDO, OH- The defending IL West Division Champs manager, Doug Mientkiewicz, will return to lead the Toledo Mud Hens for the 2019 season. Mike Hessman, Mud Hens and Minor League Baseball’s home run king will join the team as hitting coach. Completing the Hens coaching staff are Juan Nieves as pitching coach and Basilio Cabrera as third base coach.

Doug Mientkiewicz, manager
Mientkiewicz was born in Toledo and raised in Florida. 2018 was his first year with Toledo where he guided the Hens to the International League West Division title. He previously served in as manager of the Fort Myers Miracle, the Minnesota Twins’ Class-A Advanced affiliate. In 2015, Mientkiewicz managed Class-AA Chattanooga to the Southern League Championship.

He played at Florida State University before his 12-year MLB playing career between 1998-2009 (Minnesota, 1998-2004, Boston, 2004, MY Mets, 2005, Kansas City, 2006, NY Yankees, 2007, Pittsburgh, 2008, LA Dodgers, 2009). He was primarily a first baseman in the majors, and was a career .271 hitter with 66 home runs and 405 RBI, and won the 2001 AL Gold Glove Award.

Mientkiewicz won an Olympic gold medal with Team USA at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, and the 2004 World Series championship with the Boston Red Sox. He’s the seventh person to manage the Mud Hens at Fifth Third Field and the 55th in Toledo baseball history.

Mike Hessman, hitting coach
A member of the Mud Hens’ back-to-back Governors Cup Championship teams in 2005 and 2006, Hessman hit a total of 433 home runs during his minor league career between 1996 and 2015. That includes 288 home runs with four teams in the International League (Toledo, Richmond, Buffalo, Louisville), with 184 of those coming in a Toledo uniform.

“I’m very excited for this next step in my coaching career and have it take me back to Toledo” says Hessman. “It’s a place I’m familiar with and had some of my best playing memories. I am ready to work for the Mud Hens and get the team ready for another competitive season on the field.”

Hessman was also named the 2007 IL Most Valuable Player, hitting .254 with 31 home runs and 101 RBI while leading Toledo to a divisional title. In 2018, he was inducted into the International League Hall of Fame.

Also known as a top-level defensive player and model teammate, Hessman has remained in the Tigers organization as a coach since retiring after the 2015 season. Last year he served as hitting coach of Detroit’s Eastern League affiliate in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Juan Nieves, pitching coach
Nieves joins the Mud Hens following three seasons as pitching coach of the Miami Marlins. He played for the Milwaukee Brewers from 1986-1988, and threw a no-hitter on April 15, 1987 against Baltimore.
He served in the New York Yankees minor league system from 1992-1996 before joining the Chicago White Sox minor league system for eight seasons. He then became bullpen coach for the Chicago White Sox for five seasons.

Basilio Cabrera, third base coach
Cabrera returns for his fourth season with Toledo. He played outfield in the Detroit Tigers organization from 1986-1992 and served as the manager of the Gulf Coast League Tigers from 2008-2015. In total, Cabrera has coached in the Detroit Tigers minor league system since 1993.

Rounding out the staff is Chris McDonald who returns for his sixth season as athletic trainer for the Mud Hens, and Jeff Mathers who is returning for his second season as strength and conditioning coach for the Mud Hens.

The Mud Hens begin defense of the IL West Division title at home on Thursday, April 4 against Louisville. 2019 Opening Day tickets will go on sale at a later date.

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