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Pankovits Named ValleyCats Manager in 2009

December 3, 2008 - New York-Penn League (NYPL) - Tri-City ValleyCats News Release

TROY, N.Y. - On Wednesday, the Houston Astros announced the Tri-City ValleyCats coaching staff for the 2009 season. The ValleyCats will have their fourth manager in franchise history in Jim Pankovits. Gary Ruby will join the ValleyCats as pitching coach and Joel Chimelis will return for his fourth season as the hitting coach.

Pankovits, a former infielder for the Astros, had spent the previous three seasons managing with the Class A-Advanced Salem Avalanche. In 2006, Pankovits was named the Carolina League Manager of the Year after leading the Avalanche to its first playoff berth since 1988. Prior to managing Salem, Pankovits spent two seasons managing Class A Quad City (1995-96) and two seasons as manager at Double A Jackson (1998-99).

"I am very excited to come back to Troy, N.Y. where I have visited in the capacity as a roving defensive coordinator," said Pankovits. "I've always enjoyed a great working relationship with the ValleyCats front office and "The Joe" is a beautiful place to play."

Pankovits was drafted by the Astros in the fourth round of the June 1976 draft. After six seasons in the Houston organization, Pankovits was traded to San Diego in 1982. Pankovits returned to the Astros in 1983 and made his major league debut in 1984. In five seasons with the Astros, Pankovits compiled a .250 batting average in 318 games.

Gary Ruby joins Tri-City after spending the 2008 season as pitching coach at Salem. Prior to joining the Astros organization, Ruby spent six seasons as the minor league pitching coordinator for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Ruby also has experience with the Phillies (1998-2001) and Angels (1987-95) organization. Ruby was selected by the Cleveland Indians in the 22nd round of the 1969 draft and played three years in the Indians farm system.

Chimelis returns for his fourth season as the ValleyCats hitting coach. Chimelis was a former infielder selected by the Oakland A's in the 11th round of the 1988 draft. He played thirteen years in the minors, posting career highs in homeruns (30) and RBI (98) while playing for Dos Laredos of the Mexican League in 2000. Chimelis has coached the 'Cats to some impressive offensive marks including Phil Disher's 13 home runs in 2008 (2nd in NYPL).

Bryan Baca returns for his second season as the ValleyCats trainer in 2009. Prior to joining Tri-City, Baca was Rookie League Greenville's athletic trainer in 2007. Baca is a native of Albuquerque, NM and is a graduate of New Mexico State with a B.S. in Athletic Training.

The ValleyCats kick off their eighth season on June 19 at Oneonta and open at home the next day, Saturday, June 20. Season tickets, flex plans and gift cards are on sale now and may be purchased at the Joseph L. Bruno Stadium Box Office, by calling a ValleyCats representative at (518) 629-CATS or by logging on to www.tcvalleycats.com.

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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