Phillip Wellman Returns as Sod Poodles Manager for 2020 Season
AMARILLO, Texas - The Amarillo Sod Poodles in conjunction with the San Diego Padres announced today that reigning Texas League Manager of the Year Phillip Wellman will return as the team field manager for the 2020 season. Accompanying Wellman will be pitching coach Jimmy Jones, hitting coach, Raul Padron, fielding coach Freddy Flores, athletic trainers Drew Garner and Allyse Kramer, and strength & conditioning coach Sam Hoffman.
Wellman returns for his fifth season in the Padres organization managing their Double-A affiliate. The 2020 season will be Wellman's 32nd season as a coach and 21st as a minor league manager. He led the inaugural Sod Poodles club to a Texas League Championship after finishing the regular season with a 72-66 record, clinching the third consecutive playoff bout for a Padres Double-A team and earning the first league title for San Diego's Double-A squad since 2013.
Wellman's managerial career began in 1992 with the Baltimore Orioles Gulf Coast League affiliate. He has also managed Winston-Salem (Cincinnati Reds High-A) of the Carolina League (1996), Burlington (Cincinnati Class A) of the Midwest League (1997-98), Chattanooga (Cincinnati AA) of the Southern League (1999, 2001-2003), Mississippi (Atlanta AA) of the Southern League (2007-2010) and Arkansas (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim AA) of the Texas League (2014). In 2008, Wellman led the Mississippi Braves to a 73-66 record and a Southern League championship. In 2017, while with San Antonio, he eclipsed his 1,000th win as a minor league manager in April, finishing the 2017 campaign with 1,073 career wins. In 20 total seasons as a manager, Wellman is 1216-1281.
The 58-year-old skipper was born in Marlin, Texas, but grew up in San Antonio, Texas. Wellman attended Madison High School, graduating in 1980.
"I am truly excited to return to Amarillo as the defending Texas League champions," said Wellman. "But as good and enjoyable as 2019 was, that's exactly what it was - last season. I'm looking forward to getting back and facing the new challenges of the new season ahead and developing more players to ultimately get them to the Big-League level."
"The Padres are ecstatic to return Texas League manager of the year, Phillip Wellman, to HODGETOWN in 2020," said Padres Director of Player Development, Sam Geaney. "Phillip will lead an exciting team on the field as we look forward to another successful season."
"The 2019 season was one of the most storied and memorable inaugural seasons for a Minor League Baseball team," said Sod Poodles President and General Manager, Tony Ensor. "We could not be happier than to have Phillip and his staff, who all played such an integral role in last season's success, return for a second consecutive year. Phillip is not only a great leader of young men in their pursuit to make the Major League level, but he has endeared himself and become a tremendous part of our Amarillo community. We believe that with the incredible talent of the San Diego Padres farm system along with our experienced staff, we can once again compete with the rest of the Texas League for another title!"
Jones, 55, enters his 12th season with the Padres. In 2019, he led Double-A farm arms to a 4.45 ERA over 1,216.1 innings pitched, including two league top-10 starters Lake Bachar and Jesse Scholtens and organization top arms MacKenzie Gore, Luis Patiño, Ronald Bolaños, and Adrian Morejon. The Padres organization hired him in 2008 to be their pitching coach in Peoria for their rookie-level affiliate. He moved up to San Antonio in 2011, and spent a short time in San Diego in 2012 as interim bullpen coach for the Padres after Darrel Akerfelds was hospitalized with pancreatic cancer. Jones played nine seasons professionally, retiring in 1995. The Dallas native played for the Padres, Yankees, Astros, Expos and spent two seasons in Japan.
Padron, 35, returns for his fifth season with the organization and third with the Double-A affiliate after serving as hitting coach for Class-A Advanced Lake Elsinore (CA) in 2017. The 34-year old played professionally for 12 seasons after originally signing with the Oakland Athletics as an international free agent in 2002. He made his professional debut with the AZL Athletics in 2004 and split time with all four remaining levels of the A's system until 2009. Padron played in the Texas League in 2009, batting .275 over 39 games with Midland. Padron's other affiliated ball experience came in 2011 when he played 55 games for Akron (Cleveland Indians AA). The former catcher/first baseman also played in the Venezuelan Winter League from 2007-2015 and in the independent Atlantic League for the Camden Riversharks from 2010-2013.
Flores, 45, joins the Amarillo staff for his second season as fielding coach and fourth with the Padres, previously serving in the same capacity for Class-A Advanced Lake Elsinore. The New Mexico native played independent league baseball from 1997 to 2000 and, at the same time, was working as an assistant coach for the softball team at Western New Mexico University, becoming the head coach in 2002 and holding the capacity through 2007. Flores returned to professional baseball in 2008, playing for another eight seasons including time as a player and coach with the Abilene Prairie Dogs (2012, North American League), Amarillo Sox (2013, American Association), and Amarillo Thunderheads (2015, American Association).
Garner returns for his second season with Amarillo after serving as one of the team's inaugural athletic trainers in 2019. The Alabama native worked the 2017 and 2018 seasons as an athletic trainer for the Atlanta Braves Minor League system (GCL and Appalachian League) while he spent the 2016 season as rehab athletic trainer for the Cubs. Garner received his B.S. in Athletic Training from Samford University 2010 and M.S. in Sport and Fitness Management from Troy University in 2013.
Kramer enters her fifth overall season in the Padres organization since joining in 2016 as San Diego's first female trainer. The California native spent the previous three seasons with Single-A Fort Wayne and 2016 with short-season Tri-City. She earned her undergraduate degree in athletic training from Point Loma Nazarene University and master's degree in 2013 from the University of Texas, where she also taught classes in the kinesiology and nutrition departments. Kramer was previously an athletic trainer at a Seattle Community College as well as at the University of Texas.
Hoffman enters his fourth season as a Strength Coach in the Padres organization. The Wisconsin native spent the past two seasons with Single-A Fort Wayne and the 2017 season with Short-Season Tri-City. Before his time with San Diego, he worked in the Milwaukee Brewers' organization from 2015-16. Hoffman earned his bachelor's degree from Marquette and a master's in exercise physiology at Northern Michigan University.
Group and hospitality opportunities throughout the 2020 season are available now! For pricing and more information on group hospitality areas and options for the 2020 season, call 806-803-7762, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.sodpoodles.com.
Group stadium tours of HODGETOWN, including all hospitality areas, are also available now. Tours will be conducted Tuesdays and Thursdays at 12 p.m. Groups of 10 or more can reserve an alternate day/time slot with advance notice. Tickets can be purchased over the phone or at the box office for $5 each. Tickets for groups of 10 or more will be $3 each. For more information, fans can call Zak McGrath at 806-803-9545 or email ZakM@SodPoodles.com.
The Sod Poodles open the 2020 season on the road, Thursday, April 9, at Dickey-Stephens Park in Little Rock against the Arkansas Travelers (Seattle Mariners). Amarillo will host their 2020 home opener at HODGETOWN on Thursday, April 16 against the Travelers to begin their initial 11-game homestand. First pitch for the 2020 home opener is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
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Amarillo Sod Poodles manager Phillip Wellman
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