Backman back with Mets as Las Vegas manager
Greer named hitting coach, St. Claire pitching coach of Triple-A squad
NEW YORK -- Wally Backman will return to the Mets' organization to manage Triple-A Las Vegas next season, the 51s announced Monday. Backman will begin his fourth season back in the organization after a five-year spell out of professional baseball.
Affiliated with the Mets for the first time this season, the 51s also named George Greer their hitting coach and Randy St. Claire their pitching coach. Top prospects Zack Wheeler and Travis d'Arnaud are among those likely to begin next season at Vegas.
"We're excited to have such a skilled and experienced staff leading the 51s in our inaugural season, as we expect to have some of the most talented players in our player development system in Las Vegas," Mets vice president of player development and amateur scouting Paul DePodesta said in a statement.
Backman, 53, managed Triple-A Buffalo to a 67-76 record in 2012, overseeing top prospect Matt Harvey's launch to the big leagues. He will enter his second season as manager at the Triple-A level and fourth with the Mets' organization since his playing days.
Once the Mets announced they would retain their entire big league coaching staff in 2013, there was some thought that Backman would leave the organization without any chance at a Major League job. But Backman, who spent four days as Arizona's manager in 2004 before his financial and legal problems derailed the agreement, will return to the organization that originally drafted him as a second baseman in 1977. He was a finalist in 2010 for the big league managing job that ultimately went to Terry Collins.
St. Claire joins the Mets after three years as the pitching coach in Miami. Prior to that job, he served in the same capacity in Washington.
Greer will enter his eighth season in the Mets' organization and his second season as the hitting instructor at Triple-A. He previously served as the hitting coach with Class A Kingsport n 2011.
The 51s also announced that Joe Golia will return for his third season as Triple-A athletic trainer, and Ronald Kenyatta will return for his 12th season as Triple-A strength coach.
The Mets did not renew their expiring affiliation with Triple-A Buffalo, instead signing a two-year player-development deal with Las Vegas.