Luis Rojas returns as St. Lucie Mets manager


The New York Mets have announced that Luis Rojas will return for his second season as the manager of their Advanced-A affiliate, the St. Lucie Mets.
Rojas, 34, guided St. Lucie to a 68-70 record in 2015. Baseball America named him the top Florida State League manager prospect in 2015.
Prior to joining St. Lucie, Rojas managed the Mets Single-A affiliate Savannah Sand Gnats for three years. He led the Sand Gnats to playoffs appearances in 2013 and 2014 and won the South Atlantic League championship in 2013.
Overall this will be the 12th season for Rojas in the Mets organization. Prior to managing Savannah he was the manager of the Gulf Coast League Mets in 2011. In 2010 Rojas was a coach for Savannah. Before that he was a coach in the GCL from 2008-09.
Rojas spent 2007 as a coach with the Mets Dominican Summer League team. In 2006 he managed the Washington Nationals Dominican Summer League team.
As a player, Rojas played in the Baltimore Orioles, Florida Marlins and Montreal Expos/Washington National minor league systems from 1999-2005. His father, Felipe Alou, was a longtime MLB manager for the Expos and Giants.
In January Rojas managed the Leones del Escogido to the Dominican Winter League championship. He became the youngest manager in the league's history to win the title.
For the first time in eight years, St. Lucie will have a new pitching coach. Marc Valdes has been promoted from Class-A and will take over for Phil Regan. Valdes served as Savannah's pitching coach the last two seasons. This is his 10th year with the Mets.
From 2012-13 Valdes was the pitching coach for Brooklyn. He was in the same role for Binghamton (AA) in 2011. In 2007-08 he coached at Kingsport (R) in the Appalachian League.
Valdes, 44, pitched in the majors for six seasons (1995-2001) with Florida, Montreal and Atlanta. In 144 games (22 starts), he went 12-15 with four saves and a 4.95 ERA.
Valdes played collegiately at Florida. He left the Gators as their all-time leader in wins (31) and innings (394.2). He was the Marlins first draft pick in 1993.
Regan, 78, will remain a fixture in Port St. Lucie. His new role with the Mets is the pitching coach for rehabbing players.
Valentino Pascucci is the new St. Lucie hitting coach. He also spent the previous two seasons in Savannah. This will be Pascucci's second coaching job. He retired from playing in 2013.
Pascucci appeared in 10 games with the Mets in 2011, hitting one home run. He played in the 32 games with the Expos in 2004, including the final game in Expos history on Oct. 3, 20014 at Shea Stadium.
Pascucci, 37, played in the Japanese Pacific League and helped the Chiba Lotte Marines capture the 2005 championship. He combined to hit 281 home runs over 13 minor league seasons.
Joel Fuentes, who served as the St. Lucie hitting coach for the previous two seasons, is now the hitting coach for the Mets new Single-A affiliate, the Columbia Fireflies.
Matt Hunter returns for his third season as St. Lucie's athletic trainer. Hunter, 35, was also the St. Lucie trainer from 2009-10. From 2011-13 he was the trainer for the Double-A Binghamton Mets.
This will mark Hunter's 11th season in the Mets system. In 2004 he graduated from the University of Florida with a Master of Science degree in Athletic Training/Sports Management.
Kory Wan joins St. Lucie as the new strength and conditioning coach. It is Wan's third season with the Mets. In 2015 he was the strength coach for Savannah. He was with Kingsport in 2014.
Prior to joining the Mets, Wan worked as a strength and conditioning coach at Saint Leo University. He primarily worked with the baseball and tennis programs.
Wan graduated from Saint Leo in 2013 with a B.A. in Psychology.


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