Rick Sweet Returns as Sky Sox Manager in 2018
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The Milwaukee Brewers announced Wednesday that Rick Sweet will return for his fourth season as manager of the Sky Sox for the 2018 season. Returning to Sweet's coaching staff in Colorado Springs will be pitching coach Fred Dabney, coach Ned Yost IV, athletic trainer Aaron Hoback, and strength & conditioning coach Andrew Emmick while welcoming newly named hitting coach, David Joppie.
"The Sky Sox are thrilled to welcome manager Rick Sweet back to Colorado Springs for a fourth straight season," said Sky Sox President and General Manager, Tony Ensor. "After leading our team to a historical campaign in 2017, I can only expect the same results in 2018. He brings superb leadership to our clubhouse, loves this community, has a proven track record of success, and is hungry to make this season the best one yet in our team's history."
Sweet, 65, became the 15th manager in Sky Sox history in 2015 as the Sky Sox compiled a record of 62-81. In 2016, he led the Sky Sox to a second-place finish in the PCL American North Division with a record of 67-71. Last season, in 2017, he led Colorado Springs to their first division championship and playoff berth in two decades, snapping one of the longest postseason droughts in Minor League Baseball, leading the squad to a second-best team record of 80-57. The 2018 season will be his fourth in the Brewers organization and his 29th year as a minor league manager.
An Arizona native, Sweet spent his first season in the PCL in 2014 with Nashville and the previous nine seasons in the Reds organization as manager of the Louisville Bats (2005-11) and as the Reds' catching coordinator (2012-13). During Sweet's stint in Louisville, he became the franchise's all-time winningest manager with a 539-465 (.537) record. From 2008-10 his Bats won three straight International League West Division championships. He was named International League Manager of the Year in 2008 and 2009 and was Baseball America's 2010 Triple-A Manager of the Year. He was also recognized as Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year in 1994 while with Triple-A Tucson.
Sweet is a three-time Triple-A All-Star Game manager, having received the honor twice in the PCL with Tucson (1993) and Portland (2003), as well as with Louisville in the IL in 2009. As one of the most successful managers in the game, he owns a 1,874-1796 (.511) career record while his 1,874 wins rank fourth-most among active minor league managers entering the upcoming season.
"We are eagerly looking forward to surpassing the historical season we had in 2017 with the development of our talented players in the Brewers organization," said Sweet. "I always love coming back to Security Service Field and being a part of this incredible community. I fully expect great things to come in 2018 for the team, the fans and Colorado Springs."
Sweet previously managed in the Seattle (1987-88), Houston (1989-95), New York - NL (1997), Montreal (1998, 2000), San Diego (2001-03) and Detroit (2004) minor league systems. He also served with the Astros as first base coach in 1996 and with the Expos as field coordinator from 1999-2000. The former catcher had a nine-year playing career (1975-83) including three seasons in the majors with San Diego (1978), New York - NL (1982) and Seattle (1982-83). Following his playing days, Sweet became bullpen catcher for the Mariners (1984) and then spent the next two years as an advanced scout with Seattle (1985-86).
Dabney, 53, begins his fourth season as pitching coach for the Sky Sox and 15th overall season with the Brewers after leading 2017 Sky Sox arms to a sixth-best team pitching slot throughout the Pacific Coast League. He joined the organization as pitching coach at Class-A Huntsville in 2004, spent seven seasons in the same capacity at Brevard County from 2005-11 and spent three seasons with Triple-A Nashville as their pitching coach from 2012-14. During the 2010 season, Dabney served as interim bullpen coach for the Brewers from April 23 to May 23. Prior to joining the Brewers, he spent five seasons as a pitching coach in the Texas Rangers organization with the Rookie GCL Rangers (1999), Class-A Savannah (2000), Class-A Charlotte (2001-02) and Class-A Stockton (2003). While with Charlotte, he coached in the Florida State League All-Star Game both seasons. Dabney played nine minor league seasons as a pitcher with Chicago-AL (1988-93), Cleveland (1994) and Chicago-NL (1995-96) and finished his career in Taiwan (1997). He was originally chosen by the White Sox in the 15th round of the 1988 draft after attending Seminole (OK) Junior College.
Yost IV, 35, begins his 11th season as a coach with the Brewers and his second with the Sky Sox. He previously spent five seasons as a coach with Class-A Brevard County from 2012-16, spent three seasons with Rookie Helena from 2009-11 and was an assistant coach with Helena in 2008. Yost played in the Brewers system as an infielder for three seasons from 2005-07 after he was signed as a non-drafted free agent out of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh in 2005. He is the son of current Kansas City Royals manager, Ned Yost.
Joppie, 52, joins the Sky Sox as hitting coach after spending his first season in the Brewers organization in 2017 with Class-A Advanced Carolina and the previous 10 years as a hitting coach in the Boston Red Sox organization - Wilmington Blue Rocks (2006), Lancaster JetHawks (2007), Portland Sea Dogs (2008-2012, 2015), Pawtucket Red Sox (2013-2014). Before joining the Red Sox organization, he worked in the Athletics system and was a hitting coach for numerous teams in the Oakland organization: Double-A Huntsville in 1995-96, 1998), Single-A Modesto (1997), Single-A Visalia (1999), and Double-A Midland (2001-03). He managed Single-A Vancouver of the Northwest League in 2000 and Single-A Kane County in 2004 and 2005. In 2004, the Michigan native led the Kane County Cougars to the Western Division Championship with an 83-56 record and was named both Midwest League Manager of the Year and Baseball America's Class Low-A Minor League Manager of the Year.
Hoback enters his 12th season as an athletic trainer in the Brewers organization and his fourth with the Sky Sox. He previously served in the same capacity with Triple-A Nashville (2013-14), Double-A Huntsville (2010-12), Class-A Wisconsin (2009) and Rookie Level Helena (2007-08).
Emmick begins his fourth season with the Sky Sox and enters his 10th year with the Brewers organization. He served in the same role for Triple-A Nashville from 2010-2014 and Double-A Huntsville in 2009. Prior to joining the Brewers, Emmick spent three seasons in the Angels organization as strength and conditioning coach with Class-A Cedar Rapids (2006), Rookie level Tempe (2007) and Triple-A Salt Lake (2008).
Former Sky Sox coach, Al LeBoeuf, who spent the 2017 season with the Sky Sox, has been named hitting coach for Double-A Biloxi Shuckers. The 2018 Sky Sox baseball season begins April 5 against the Omaha Storm Chasers. The home opener is scheduled for April 10 against the New Orleans Baby Cakes when the Sky Sox will dress as the 1900-era Colorado Springs Millionaires to kick off their "Cheers to 45 More Years" season-long celebration.
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