Drive Host Annual Hot Stove Event on Monday, February 4th
Greenville, SC - The Greenville Drive will host their annual Hot Stove event on Monday, February 4th in the Champions Club presented by Hubbell Lighting at Fluor Field from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM.
The special guests for the Hot Stove event are Ben Crockett, the Red Sox Vice President of Player Development, Iggy Suarez, who returns to Greenville for his second year as manager in 2019, and Drive pitching coach Bob Kipper, a Greenville native who will return to the Drive coaching staff this season.
The Hot Stove event is complimentary for fans to attend, with food and beverages provided throughout the evening. The Drive will also have new merchandise items for the 2019 season on display and available for purchase. The formal speaking portion of the event will feature Drive Owner and Team President Craig Brown, as well as Drive General Manager Eric Jarinko, welcoming fans while highlighting what to expect for the Fluor Field fan experience in 2019.
Crockett will discuss the journey to Boston's 2018 World Series championship, which included six Drive alums among the everyday starting lineup and eight alums total on the World Series roster. Crockett will also provide his annual in-depth look into the state of the Red Sox organization from the major leagues to the minor leagues, while Suarez and Kipper will preview the 2019 Drive season on the field.
Following the formal speaking, Crockett, Suarez, Kipper, Brown and Jarinko will participate in a Q&A session with all guests prior to the conclusion of the event.
"The Red Sox player development system played a crucial role in the 2018 World Series championship, the fourth title for Boston since 2004, and Ben, Iggy and Bob all play extremely important parts in making Boston's player development system the very best in all of baseball," said Brown. "With eight Drive alums on the World Series roster, all of us in Greenville felt extremely attached to this Red Sox club, which showed a great drive to succeed en route to another World Series title."
"Ben, Iggy and Bob also have a huge hand into shaping the roster of talented young players we will see in Greenville this summer, and they are all first-class individuals. We are excited to welcome them back to Greenville in preparation for the 2019 season."
2019 will be Crockett's eighth year in charge of Boston's Player Development, and his 13th season in the organization. During his tenure with the Red Sox, Crockett has played a critical role in the development of many of Boston's homegrown talent on the World Series roster, including 2018 American League Most Valuable Player Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, Christian Vazquez, Matt Barnes and much more.
Suarez will serve as the Drive's manager for the second straight year in 2019. The 37-year old managed the Drive to a second place finish in the Southern Division second half standings in 2018. Prior to joining the Drive, he managed the Lowell Spinners, Boston's short-season affiliate, for two seasons. He led the Spinners to 47-29 record and the New York-Penn League's Stedler Division title in his first season as manager in 2016.
Suarez began his coaching career in 2015 as the hitting coach in Lowell. A 24th round selection by the Red Sox from Texas State in 2003, he was a fan favorite over seven seasons in the Boston organization, while reaching AAA-Pawtucket in 2009.
The 2019 season will be Kipper's fifth season as Greenville's pitching coach. He returned to Greenville in that role in 2018, and he served in the same roles from 2005-2006 as well as 2008-2009. The 54 year-old served as the Red Sox bullpen coach in 2002, and has also held stints as the pitching coach in AAA-Pawtucket from 2015-2017, as well as in AA-Portland from 2010-2014.
A former first round pick (8th overall) by the California Angels in 1982 out of high school, Kipper spent eight seasons in the major leagues, with seven of those coming with the Pittsburgh Pirates. His best season came in 1989 with the Pirates, where he logged a 2.93 ERA in 52 appearances out of the bullpen.
"The Drive's Hot Stove event is the perfect time to get our organization and our fans ready for the upcoming season at Fluor Field, and welcoming Ben, Iggy and Bob back to Greenville is the perfect way to build up the excitement even more," said Jarinko. "These three have played very different, but important, roles in the massive success the Red Sox organization has enjoyed over the past few years, and we hope our fans will join us for this night to celebrate the past, present and future of the Drive organization."
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