LINCOLN, NE – Manager Marty Scott and the Lincoln Saltdogs filled out their 2009 coaching staff on Tuesday, naming Chris Miyake as hitting coach and Matt Nokes as pitching coach. This season will be the first since Lincoln’s inaugural 2001 campaign that every member of the Saltdogs coaching staff will be in his first season with the club.
Miyake (pronounced “my-YAH-key”), who will turn 35 years old during the team’s first road trip of the season, enters his eighth season as a coach or manager in independent baseball. The former Pittsburgh Pirates farmhand began his coaching career in 2002 as the hitting coach for the Adirondack Lumberjacks in the Northern League. In 2003, Chris was hired by the Brockton Rox of the Northeast League (later the Can-Am League). Miyake served as the hitting coach for three seasons; in each of those years, the Rox increased both their team batting average and their average runs scored per game. After the 2005 campaign, Miyake was promoted to the manager’s chair. He led Brockton to the 2006 Can-Am League championship series, where they lost the finale of the best-of-five series to Quebec. Chris was let go by Brockton after the 2008 season.
“Chris is an energetic young man and an outstanding hitting coach,” said Scott. “When you look at the squads he’s coached, you see lineups that always rank well in team batting average, getting on base and—most importantly—scoring runs. Chris is really able to connect with his players on a number of levels, and help them reach their full potential. He’ll bring a lot of enthusiasm to our club this season.”
Nokes, a 45-year-old California native, is best known for his 11 years as a catcher in the major leagues, including an outstanding rookie year in 1987 when he won the American League Silver Slugger award as a member of the Detroit Tigers. His experience in independent baseball stretches back to the 1998 and 1999 seasons, when he played under Marty Scott in St. Paul. Nokes served as a player/coach for Schaumburg in 2001, and became a player/manager for Joliet in 2002. In that season, the JackHammers went 53-38 and won a second-half division title. Matt’s two-year record as Joliet’s manager was 93-86.
“Matt’s a true professional with a lot of experience,” said Scott. “He spent over a decade handling big-league pitching staffs from behind the plate, so he knows how to work with a professional pitcher. Matt also knows what it takes to win at the independent level, and his work ethic is second to none. I’m thrilled that we’ve been able to get him back into the dugout this year.”
Unlike previous seasons, the 2009 Saltdogs on-field staff will include just three people: Scott, Miyake and Nokes. The manager says that’s the best way to go, especially both of his assistant coaches are former minor-league managers as well.
“I don’t think we need extra coaches to get the job done,” Scott said. “We’ll have 22 players to work with, and all of them are adults and professionals. We’ll have some players who step up as leaders on the field and in the clubhouse, so that will make our jobs easier as well. I’m really confident that Chris and Matt will help me lead this team to a successful season.”
Courtesy: Saltdogs Media Information