Thoughts and pictures of my local minor league baseball team the New York Penn League Connecticut Tigers; a Detriot farm team. We'll still be looking at former Navigators/Defenders players along the way....

Friday, January 11, 2008

A new manager.....

as reported by Joe Perez in today's Bulletin............

Defenders hire manager from outside the organization

Figueroa comes from Orioles’ farm system
Jan 10, 2008 @ 11:31 PM
Norwich Bulletin
Welcome to Norwich, Bienvenido Figueroa.

The Connecticut Defenders announced Thursday that Figueroa will be the 10th manager in franchise history. He comes to the Defenders and their parent organization, the San Francisco Giants, after serving as the bench coach for the Bowie BaySox in 2007.

“I feel great,” Figueroa said by phone. “I’m new to this organization. They have a lot of good players coming up, they have great talent. I can’t wait to see it.”

Figueroa takes over a Connecticut team that hopes to benefit from a farm system that gave the Giants’ affiliates the second-best winning percentage in minor league baseball last season. Despite that success, the Giants have produced few major-league caliber position players and the Defenders haven’t been above .500 since winning the 2002 Eastern League championship.

But with the likes of pitcher Henry Sosa and shortstop Manny Burris, who Baseball America ranks among the Giants’ 10 best prospects, projected to start the season with the Defenders, Figueroa hopes to develop major league talent and win on the field.

“My job is to get them to play better,” he said. “And secondly, make sure they go to the high levels in a winning way. I want to be sure they go to the next level and feel good about themselves. That’s the way they need to be in San Francisco. They want the kids to develop to go to the major leagues and be winners.”

Being at the helm of the Defenders won’t be a new concept for Figueroa. He managed in the Baltimore Orioles farm system, where he spent the past 11 seasons, from 2002-06. He led the Single-A Fredrick Keys to the Carolina League championship in 2005. That team featured current Orioles Nick Markakis and Adam Loewen.

He was taken in the fifth round, the 150th overall selection, by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1986 draft. As a middle infielder, Figueroa played 12 games in the majors, all in 1992. He also spent time in the Montreal, Texas, Colorado and Baltimore farm systems before retiring as a player in 1996.

“We’re very pleased to have such a seasoned guy with a proven track record at the helm” Defenders general manager Charlie Dowd said in a statement. “The organization is excited to welcome him to Norwich.”

Figueroa will be joined by pitching coach Bob Stanley, hitting coach Victor Torres and trainer Dustin Luepker.

Stanley is entering his fifth season in that capacity for the Defenders, while Torres is not an unfamiliar face. He shared duties with former hitting coach Gary Davenport early last season as Davenport recovered from offseason knee surgery. Luepker previously served as trainer for the Giants’ Single-A team in Augusta, Ga.

Reach Joe Perez at 425-4257 or


Blogger LC said...

Is Torres going to be rocking the Jheri Curls?

12:46 AM


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