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Sweet Returns for Third Season

November 5, 2002 - Pacific Coast League (PCL) - Portland Beavers News Release

PORTLAND, Ore. - Rick Sweet, who has guided the Portland Beavers to a 143-144 record in two seasons with the club, will return as the team's manager for a third season, it was announced today as the San Diego Padres named the 2003 field staff for their highest minor league affiliate.

Sweet's coaching staff will be comprised of two newcomers - coach Rob Deer and pitching coach Mike Couchee. John Maxwell returns for a third season as the team's trainer.

Sweet, 50, has compiled an 885-884 record in 13 years as a minor league manager, including five in the Pacific Coast League. Despite the fact that the Beavers were next to last in run production in 2002, Sweet led Portland to a second-place finish behind eventual league-champion Edmonton in the PCL North Division. The Beavers finished with a 72-71 record in 2002, including a league-best 44 home wins.

Prior to beginning his managerial career with Class A Bellingham in 1987, Sweet, a native of Vancouver, Wash., played three seasons in the major leagues. The catcher made his big-league debut with the Padres in 1978 and went on to play with the New York Mets (1982) and the Seattle Mariners (1982-83) to round out his playing career. He batted .234 with six home runs and 57 RBIs in the big leagues.

Outside the managerial realm, Sweet added to his coaching resume by spending the 1996 season as the first base coach for the Houston Astros and by serving as the minor league coordinator for the Montreal Expos organization from 1999-2000.

As a manager, Sweet has piloted two of his clubs to league championships; he led Tucson to the 1993 PCL championship and guided Class AA Harrisburg to an Eastern League title in 1998. In five seasons as a PCL skipper, Sweet has amassed a 394-323 record (.550).

"I'm very much looking forward to my third season in Portland," said Sweet. "We should have an exciting young club that people will enjoy coming out to watch."

This summer, Sweet was inducted into the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges Hall of Fame. He began his collegiate career at Lower Columbia College - a member of the NWAACC - in his hometown of Longview, Wash., playing both baseball and basketball. Sweet was an all-Coastal Division catcher in 1972 before moving on to Gonzaga University.

Deer, 42, joins the Beavers field staff after serving as a coach at Class A Lake Elsinore in the Padres system in 2002.

Over a major league career that spanned 12 seasons, Deer batted .220 with 230 homers and 600 RBIs in 1,155 games with San Francisco (1984-85), Milwaukee (1986-90), Detroit (1991-93), Boston (1993) and San Diego (1996). His breakthrough season came with the Brewers in 1986 when he set career highs with 33 home runs, 86 RBIs and 75 runs scored. He led Milwaukee in home runs in each of his five seasons with the club and hit 20 or more homers seven straight seasons beginning in 1986.

Deer signed with the Padres as a minor league free agent in 1995, appearing in 25 games for the Padres in 1996, his final season in the big leagues. He was a coach at Class A Eugene in 2001.

Couchee (Coo-SHAY), 44, joins the Padres system as the pitching coach for the Triple-A Beavers after 15 seasons in the Anaheim Angels organization. This past campaign marked his 10th consecutive as the Angels' roving minor league pitching instructor. Previously, he was a pitching coach at Class A Quad City (1988) and rookie-level Mesa (1989-92) for the Angels.

Prior to joining the Angels staff, Couchee was a pitching coach at Class AA Tulsa in the Texas Rangers chain for two seasons (1986-87).

Couchee began his playing career with the Padres as a 19th-round draft choice of the team in the 1980 draft. He was 0-1 with a 5.14 ERA in eight games with San Diego in 1983, his only major league season.

Maxwell is a veteran of eight seasons as a trainer in the Padres organization, including five at rookie-level Idaho Falls, one with Class AA Mobile and two with the Beavers.

A graduate of San Diego State University with a Bachelor's degree in Sports Medicine, Maxwell is a certified athletic trainer, a certified strength and conditioning specialist, and a licensed physical therapy assistant.

In addition to baseball, Maxwell has worked in professional beach volleyball.

BEAVERS NOTES: The Padres also announced today that Roy Howell and Dave Rajsich - both coaches on the 2002 Portland club - will be with Class A Eugene in 2003 ... Howell, who served as the hitting coach for the Beavers for two seasons (2001-02), will manage the Emeralds while Rajsich, the Beavers pitching coach in 2002, will take over as the pitching coach of the Ems.

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Pacific Coast League Stories from November 5, 2002

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