January 4, 2013 - Midwest League (MWL) - Quad Cities River Bandits
DAVENPORT, Iowa (JAN. 4, 2013) - The Quad Cities River Bandits, in conjunction with the Houston Astros, announced on Friday the Midwest League club's field staff for the upcoming season, which will mark the first for the pair as affiliates since a six-year partnership from 1993 to 1998. Manager Omar Lopez will lead a staff that also includes former major leaguers Dave Borkowski and Vince Coleman.
Omar Lopez will begin his sixth season as a manager in the Astros organization when he leads the River Bandits for the first time on Opening Day April 4. Lopez, 36, managed the rookie-level Greeneville Astros in the Appalachian League the last two seasons, the Gulf Coast League Astros in 2009 and 2010, and the Venezuelan Summer League Astros in 2008. Prior to managing, Lopez served as a hitting and infield instructor in the Astros Venezuelan program and as a scout for the organization from 1999 to 2007. He was the Astros International Man of the Year in 2005 and Player Development Man of the Year in 2010. Lopez was an infielder for three seasons in the minor league systems of the Chicago White Sox (1996-97) and Arizona Diamondbacks (1998). He played two seasons for the rookie-level Bristol White Sox and his final season with the South Bend Silver Hawks of the Midwest League.
Lopez becomes the 34th manager for the Quad Cities franchise since it joined the Midwest League in 1960. He is the fifth to manage an Astros affiliate in the Quad Cities, following Steve Dillard (1993-94), Jim Pankovits (1995-1996), Manny Acta (1997) and Mike Rojas (1998). Acta was a major league manager the past six seasons for the Washington Nationals and Cleveland Indians, while Rojas is the bullpen coach of the defending American League Champion Detroit Tigers.
Former major league pitcher Dave Borkowski will serve as the River Bandits pitching coach this season, which will be his fourth as a coach in the Astros organization following 15 seasons (1995-2009) as a professional pitcher. Borkowski, 35, compiled a 13-20 record with a 5.87 ERA in 181 major league games over seven seasons with Detroit (1999-2001), Baltimore (2004) and Houston (2006-08). Borkowski coached the pitching staff of Class-A Lexington in the South Atlantic League in 2010 and 2012, and he was the pitching coach of rookie-level Greeneville in 2011. He pitched in the Midwest League for the West Michigan Whitecaps in 1997.
Joel Chimelis will serve his eighth consecutive season as a hitting coach in the Astros organization and 10th overall as a minor league coach following a 14-season professional career. Chimelis, 45, previously coached in the Astros organization with short-season Class-A Tri-City (2006-10), Class-A Lexington (2011) and Double-A Corpus Christi (2012). He spent 2004 and 2005 with the Savannah Sand Gnats of the Washington Nationals (Montreal Expos in 2004) organization. Chimelis was a minor league infielder in the Oakland Athletics (1988-1991), San Francisco Giants (1991-1995) and New York Mets (1996) organizations. He was called up to the Giants major league roster in 1995 but did not appear in a game. Chimelis also played in Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Taiwan and Korea.
Steve Miller enters his second season as a trainer in the Astros organization after spending 2012 with the Gulf Coast League Astros. Miller had previously been a trainer for six seasons with Triple-A New Orleans in the Florida Marlins system and was the head athletic trainer for the 2010 Pacific Coast League All-Star Game. He has worked 13 baseball seasons in athletic training, including one with the Midwest League's Kane County Cougars in 2002.
Former major leaguer Vince Coleman will be a development specialist focused on outfield and baserunning. He will be with the club for homestands and also be a scout and roving instructor within the Astros organization. Coleman played 13 seasons for the St. Louis Cardinals (1985-90), New York Mets (1991-93), Kansas City Royals (1994-95), Seattle Mariners (1995), Cincinnati Reds (1996) and Detroit Tigers (1997). Coleman was the National League Rookie of the Year in 1985 and led the league in stolen bases in each of his first six seasons.
UP NEXT: Now is the time to lock in your season ticket plan for the 2013 season! Call 563-322-6348 (563-3-BANDIT) for more information or visit www.riverbandits.com to download the season ticket order form. Season ticket and mini-plan packages start at just seven games and begin at less than $50. Call a River Bandits account representative today to choose your seats and get the details of our various mini-plan packages.