Sheaffer Named New Manager for Rays - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Sheaffer Named New Manager for Rays

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Danny Sheaffer, a veteran minor league manager and also a player on both the minor and major league levels, was announced on January 24 as the new manager of the 2013 Princeton Rays.  The balance of the P-Rays 2013 coaching staff will feature returnees from 2012: pitching coach Darwin Peguero, hitting coach Reinaldo Ruiz, athletic trainer Nick Flynn, and clubhouse manager Anthony Dunagan.

This upcoming season will mark the first year in the Rays organization for the 51-year old Sheaffer and his 33rd season in professional baseball.  He has spent the last six seasons in various positions with the Houston Astros organization, primarily as their minor league roving catching coordinator.  Sheaffer is a resident of nearby Mount Airy, NC.

He is an alumnus of Clemson University and was the first round draft pick (20th overall) of the Boston Red Sox in the 1981 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft.  He made his major league debut on April 9, 1987 with the Red Sox and was a .232 career hitter in 389 career major league games over a ten-year period from 1987-1997 (playing in seven different MLB seasons) as a catcher and infielder for the Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, Colorado Rockies, and St. Louis Cardinals.  He was a member of the inaugural 1993 Colorado Rockies team and saw his only postseason action as a player with the 1996 St. Louis Cardinals.

His previous managerial experience has all been at the AAA level, 2003-2006 with the Memphis Redbirds and 2007 with the Round Rock Express.

"We are excited to have Danny join us and he brings a lot of knowledge that we know will translate into him launching the careers of a lot of future Tampa Bay Rays while he is in Princeton," commented P-Rays General Manager Jim Holland in making the announcement.  He also said it is an added bonus that Sheaffer likes this area of the country based on where he lives.

Peguero will return to Princeton for a second consecutive season in 2013 in the role of pitching coach after spending the previous three seasons as the pitching coach for Tampa Bay's entry in the Gulf Coast League.  The three seasons prior to that (2006-2008), he served in the same capacity for the Rays Dominican Summer League team.  As a professional player, he pitched seven years (1996-2002) in the Astros organization, reaching the AA level in his final season.  He followed that with three years pitching in independent league baseball.

"Peggy did a great job with our pitchers last year and had the responsibility of mentoring a top prospect like Blake Snell among others." said Holland.

Ruiz will also return to Princeton for a second consecutive season in 2013 as hitting coach after spending the prior two seasons in the same capacity for the Hudson Valley Renegades of the New York-Penn League.  Prior to that, the current Punto Vijo, VZ resident was a coach in 2009 with Tampa Bay's Gulf Coast League team and as a catching instructor for the Rays' Venezuelan Summer League team in 2007-2008.  His eight-year professional playing career was all in the Astros organization with his peak seasons (2003-2005) occurring in nearby Salem, VA.

"Ray is a tireless worker.  We never saw a lot of him as he always was teaching in our indoor hitting facility," said Holland.

Back in Princeton as athletic trainer in 2013 for a second consecutive summer will be the 24-year old Flynn, a Canadian native and current resident of Port Richey, FL.  He received his B.S. degree in Athletic Training from the University of South Florida, where he worked on the Bulls training staffs for both football and baseball.

"Nick was a great asset to our staff last year and we are glad to have him back.  He is knowledgeable and keeps our guys up and going," Holland said.

The summer of 2013 will be the third straight season as clubhouse manager in Princeton for Dunagan following four consecutive seasons in the same capacity for Tampa Bay's New York-Penn League team, the Hudson Valley (NY) Renegades.  In addition to his duties in Princeton, the Poughkeepsie, NY resident annually also works on the Tampa Bay Rays minor league clubhouse staffs in Port Charlotte, FL for spring training, extended spring training, and fall instructional league.

"Anthony likes Princeton and I know he is excited to get back here again this summer. A clubhouse manager has a very tough job and he does it very well," commented Holland.