The Myrtle Beach Pelicans took the first steps to improving upon last year’s playoff-qualifying season with Wednesday’s formal announcement by Texas Rangers Director of Player Development Tim Purpura that the entire field staff will return in 2012.
Led by manager Jason Wood, Myrtle Beach will welcome back the staff that helped the Pelicans win the first half of the Carolina Southern Division in 2011. Texas assigned Kenny Holmberg to join the staff of the American League champion Rangers’ Class A Advanced affiliate.
In his rookie season as a minor league manager for the Pelicans, Wood steered the team to the playoffs for the first time in three years. Myrtle Beach won the Carolina League Southern Division’s first half crown in 2011 finishing with a 40-29 record in the opening half.
The club’s 72 wins overall tied for second most over the Pelicans’ last seven seasons while its 3.32 team ERA was the lowest since 2002.
“It makes things a lot more comfortable not only for myself but for all of us [that the staff is back for 2012],” said Wood. “All of us were new last year, so it will be good to have a sophomore-type season.”
A four-year Major League veteran, Wood hit .245 in 153 big league games with the Marlins, Tigers and A’s. His professional playing career spanned 18 years before the married father of three daughters retired in 2008.
The 42-year-old native Californian served as hitting coach with the Rangers former Advanced-A affiliate in Bakersfield (CA) in 2009 and 2010 before taking over the Pelicans.
Wood wecomes back pitching coach Brad Holman and assistant Julio Garcia, who will be joined by Holmberg on the bench. Trainer Jeff Bodenhamer and strength coach Ryan McNeal also are coming back.
“We enjoyed a magical first season with Woody and his staff last year with the return of playoff excitement for our fans,” remarked Pelicans GM Scott Brown. “Everyone’s goal is a Carolina League title.
“With the deep playing talent pool in the Rangers’ system and the organization’s focus on winning, the Pelicans will contend for a Mills Cup championship this season.”
The Rangers open spring training next month and those picked to play for the Pelicans will break camp for Myrtle beach in early April.