The New York Yankees have announced that Carlos Mendoza, a former RiverDogs first base coach and manager of the Gulf Coast League Yankees, will guide the Charleston RiverDogs in 2012.
"Carlos is a very bright young man who was a leader as a player, and has displayed the same leadership skills as a manager," said Mark Newman, the Yankees' senior vice president for baseball operations. "We have great confidence that he will make an excellent manager for the RiverDogs."
Mendoza replaces Aaron Ledesma, who left baseball and has entered private business.
Mendoza joined the Yankees organization for the 2009 season a member of the Staten Island Yankees' coaching staff before joining the RiverDogs' workforce for the 2010 campaign. During the 2011 campaign, he served as the manager of the Gulf Coast League Yankees.
He was signed by the San Francisco Giants as an amateur free agent in 1996. A native of Barquisimeto, Venezuela, the switch-hitter played parts of 13 seasons in the minor leagues as well as in the Independent League. He made his MLB debut in 1997 with the New York Mets, and made it to the show again in 2000 with the Colorado Rockies. In all, he played in 28 games in the majors before retiring and beginning his coaching career.
Mendoza will be the fourth RiverDogs manager in as many years and follows Ledesma (2011), Mt. Pleasant resident Greg Colbrunn (2010) and Torre Tyson (2009), also a Mt. Pleasant resident.
Joining Mendoza will be several familiar faces on the RiverDogs' staff in 2012.
The popular Colbrunn, a 13-year veteran of the big leagues, returns for his sixth year with the RiverDogs and fifth as hitting coach.
A sixth round pick by Montreal in the 1987 First-Year Player Draft, Colbrunn served as manager after three seasons as hitting coach. Although the team struggled through a 65-74 campaign – the club's first losing season since 2002 – Colbrunn instructed an offense led by infielder Rob Lyerly, who was named to the SAL's Postseason All-Star Team.
From 2007-09 and under Colbrunn's tutelage, the RiverDogs never finished worse than fourth in the SAL in team batting average and featured several individual highlights. In 2007, third baseman Mitch Hilligoss sported a league-record 38-game hitting streak that lasted from April 17 to June 1.
A newcomer to the staff but no stranger to RiverDogs fans is former player Brian Baisley, who was a member of the club from 2007-09. He joins the staff as the first base coach.
"Brian is a promising young man who is beginning his first full year as a coach," said Newman. "As a former RiverDog, Brian fully understands the ups and downs that young players face in the South Atlantic League. His experience in Charleston will be a great help to our young players."
Baisley joins Charleston after beginning his coaching career in 2011 as an assistant under Mendoza with the short-season GCL Yankees. As a player, he spent parts of three consecutive years in Charleston (2007-09) before retiring as a player after the 2009 season. A Tampa, Fla. native, Baisley was a 24th round pick in the 2006 Amateur Draft by the Yankees. He played collegiately at the University of South Florida.
Also new to the staff is pitching coach Danny Borell. The Yankees' former rehab pitching coordinator in Tampa spent last season as the pitching coach for the Staten Island Yankees. He is a native of Sanford, NC and was a second-team All-America southpaw out of Wake Forest University. Borell is a second round pick in the 2000 First-Year Player Draft and pitched for Staten Island.
Borell also pitched in the Oakland A's organization, reaching their AAA affiliate in 2008.
Also joining the staff will be trainer Jorge Vargas and Mike Kicia returns as the strength and conditioning coach.
The RiverDogs begin the 2012 campaign on Thursday, April 5, when the rival Rome Braves come to Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park to open a seven-game homestand.