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Reigning IL Manager of the Year Damon Berryhill Returns to Gwinnett

January 31, 2020 - International League (IL) - Gwinnett Stripers News Release

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. - The Atlanta Braves announced today the Gwinnett Stripers' coaching staff for the 2020 season. Manager Damon Berryhill, the 2019 International League Manager of the Year, returns for his fourth season with Gwinnett. Pitching coach Mike Maroth and strength and conditioning coach Paul Howey each return for their second seasons with the Stripers, while hitting coach Carlos Mendez, coach Alfredo Amézaga, and certified athletic trainer T.J. Saunders all join Gwinnett after spending 2019 with Double-A Mississippi.

Berryhill, 56, has guided Gwinnett to a 221-199 (.526) record over three seasons since being named the sixth manager in team history on December 12, 2016. Last season, the Laguna Beach, Calif. native became the first Gwinnett skipper ever to be named IL Manager of the Year after leading the Stripers to an 80-59 record and the IL South Division title. Berryhill's 2019 club posted the best winning percentage in Gwinnett history (.576) while capturing the team's second IL South Division title and third playoff berth. The Stripers' 80 wins were second-most in the league behind only the Columbus Clippers (81-59).

Berryhill owns a career record of 639-586 (.522) in 1,225 games over 11 seasons as a minor league manager with the Texas Rangers (2008), Los Angeles Dodgers (2009-15), and Braves (2017-current) organizations. In addition to his IL Manager of the Year award in 2019, he was also named the Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year in 2015 while with Triple-A Oklahoma City. A first round pick of the Chicago Cubs in 1984, Berryhill enjoyed a 10-year Major League career as a catcher with the Cubs (1987-91), Braves (1991-93), Boston Red Sox (1994), Cincinnati Reds (1995), and San Francisco Giants (1997).

Maroth, 42, enters his second season as Gwinnett's pitching coach and fifth season in the Braves organization. In 2019, his Stripers staff led the IL in ERA (4.29), WHIP (1.35), fewest runs allowed (641), fewest earned runs allowed (580), and fewest home runs allowed (134). Under his guidance, Bryse Wilson became the first Gwinnett pitcher to lead the league in ERA (3.42) and WHIP (1.21), and Kyle Wright led the league in wins (11).

Maroth joined the Braves in September 2015 and served as the minor league pitching rehabilitation coordinator (2016-17) and Advanced-A Florida pitching coach (2018) before advancing to Gwinnett in 2019. Prior to joining Atlanta, the Orlando, Fla. native logged four seasons as a pitching coach in the Detroit Tigers organization, including stints with Advanced-A Lakeland (2012-14) and Triple-A Toledo (2015). Selected by the Boston Red Sox in the third round of the 1998 draft, Maroth went on to a six-year Major League career with the Tigers (2002-07) and St. Louis Cardinals (2007).

Mendez, 45, enters his first season as Gwinnett's hitting coach and 13th season in the Braves organization. He replaces former hitting coach Bobby Magallanes, who has been named the Braves' minor league assistant hitting coordinator. Mendez spent the last two seasons as Mississippi's hitting coach, and in 2019 assisted in the development of Southern League Postseason All-Stars Cristian Pache and Drew Waters, the Braves' top two prospects according to MLB.com. Under his guidance, Waters won the Southern League batting title (.319) and became the first player in M-Braves history to earn the league's Most Valuable Player award.

Mendez has spent his entire coaching career in the Braves system, serving as a hitting coach with seven different clubs including rookie-level Danville (2008-10, 2014), Class-A Rome (2011-12), rookie-level GCL Braves (2013), Advanced-A Lynchburg (2014), Advanced-A Carolina (2015-16), Advanced-A Florida (2017), and Mississippi (2018-19). He batted .296 over a 16-year minor league playing career (1991-2007) as a first baseman and designated hitter with the Kansas City Royals, Detroit Tigers, Oakland Athletics, Baltimore Orioles, and Braves organizations. Signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Royals in 1991, the Caracas, Venezuela native reached the Majors for a 26-game stint with the Orioles in 2003.

Amézaga, 42, enters his first season as a coach with Gwinnett and second season in the Braves organization. He began his coaching career with Mississippi in 2019 following a 19-year playing career in the United States and Mexico. Selected by the Anaheim Angels in the 13th round of the 1999 draft, the Ciudad Obregon, Mexico native went on to play parts of nine Major League seasons as a utility player with the Angels (2002-04), Colorado Rockies (2005, 2011), Pittsburgh Pirates (2005), and Florida Marlins (2006-09, 2011).

Saunders enters his first season as Gwinnett's certified athletic trainer and fourth season in the Braves organization. He spent the previous three years with Mississippi and was named the Southern League Athletic Trainer of the Year in 2018. Prior to joining Atlanta, he logged eight seasons with the Detroit Tigers organization (2009-16), including stints with the rookie-level GCL Tigers (2009), Short-A Connecticut (2010), Class-A West Michigan (2011-13), and Double-A Erie (2014-16). In 2015, he was named Eastern League Athletic Trainer of the Year.

Howey enters his second season as Gwinnett's strength and conditioning coach and third season in the Braves organization. In 2018, he was named the Southern League Strength Coach of the Year while with Mississippi. Prior to joining Atlanta, he served as the strength coach with Class-A Clinton of the Seattle Mariners organization for three seasons (2015-17).

The Gwinnett Stripers open the 2020 season on the road, taking on the Norfolk Tides on Thursday, April 9 at 6:35 p.m. The 2020 home opener at Coolray Field is set for Thursday, April 16 at 7:05 p.m. vs. Norfolk. For information about all ticket options for 2020, including Memberships, Groups, Youth Parties, and more, visit GoStripers.com.


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