ROCKIES, TOURISTS REVEAL 2012 ASHEVILLE COACHING STAFF
The Colorado Rockies announced on Wednesday that for the 13th consecutive season Joe Mikulik will manage the Asheville Tourists during the 2012 campaign. Mikulik will be joined in the Tourists' dugout by fellow returnees Joey Eischen, who will coach the team's pitchers for the second straight season, and trainer Billy Whitehead. The lone newcomer on the staff is hitting coach Mike Devereaux.
Mikulik owns more victories than any other skipper in Asheville history, and enters the upcoming slate with an 850-808 record at the Tourists' dugout helm. The Texas native earned South Atlantic League all-star honors while playing for Asheville in 1985 and has since managed in the All-Star Game on four occasions. Mikulik is a three-time SAL Manager of the Year (2001, 2007, 2008), with more than 50 of his former players having reached the major leagues.
"We are thrilled that 'Mik' will be back with us again in 2012," said Tourists team president Brian DeWine. "For more than a decade Joe has formed a unique bond with our fans as well as the community. The situation is rare in the history of minor league baseball, and to have such an upstanding and quality person as Joe represent our franchise on a nightly basis is a great scenario for the Asheville Tourists."
The 2012 season will be Devereaux's first in the Rockies' organization after spending the past two seasons in the Baltimore Orioles' farm system. He spent the 2011 campaign as a coach for Advanced Class A Frederick after spending 2010 as a coach at Delmarva in the South Atlantic League. Devereaux played 12 seasons in the big leagues with Baltimore, the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago White Sox, Atlanta Braves and Texas Rangers. He finished seventh in the Most Valuable Player balloting in 1992 for the Orioles while batting .276 with 24 homers and 107 RBIs. He also was named the MVP of the 1995 National League Championship Series for Atlanta after hitting at a .308 clip with a home run and five RBIs. He was originally selected in the fifth round of the 1985 June draft by the Dodgers.
Eischen enters his second season as a coach after working with the pitchers at short-season Class A Tri-City in 2010. The pitching coach played 17 seasons in the professional ranks, from 1989 to 2006, including parts of 10 campaigns in the major leagues. Originally drafted by the Texas Rangers in the fourth round in 1989, the left-handed hurler made all 324 of his career major league appearances in relief. He twirled for the Montreal Expos, Los Angeles Dodgers, Detroit Tigers, Cincinnati Reds and Washington Nationals and went a combined 11-9 with a 3.67 ERA.
Whitehead will be the Tourists' trainer for the fourth consecutive campaign after spending the 2007 and 2008 seasons as the trainer of the Casper Ghosts in the Pioneer League. Whitehead is a 2005 Athletic Training graduate of Texas Tech University, where he also served as a trainer for the Red Raider baseball team.
The Tourists open the 2012 season at McCormick Field on April 5th against the Delmarva Shorebirds, the first part of a seven-game homestand to christen the campaign. Season ticket packages are currently available at the McCormick Field box office. For more information, contact the Tourists front office at (828) 258-0428.