Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton)
The New York Mets announced today that all five members of the Binghamton Mets field staff from last season, led by manager Pedro Lopez, will return to guide the club in 2013.
Lopez, 43, will be joined by hitting coach Luis Natera and pitching coach Glenn Abbott. Athletic trainer Matt Hunter and strength & conditioning coach Dustin Clarke round out the staff.
Managing at the Double-A level for the first time, Lopez steered the 2012 Binghamton Mets to a 68-74 record. The Puerto Rico native also celebrated his 500th managerial win on September 2 when the B-Mets defeated the Trenton Thunder at NYSEG Stadium.
Lopez has steadily climbed the Mets’ minor league managerial ladder; compiling winning records at each stop leading to Binghamton. His journey began with the Kingsport Mets (Rookie) in 2008, where he guided the club to a 34-32 mark. Under his watch in 2009, the Brooklyn Cyclones (Short Season-A) finished second in the McNamara Division and punched their ticket to the New York-Penn League postseason with a 45-30 record. Lopez kept the success rolling at his next managerial stop with the Savannah Sand Gnats (Low-A) in 2010. They went 75-64, but missed a playoff berth by two games.
As skipper of the St. Lucie Mets (High-A) in 2011, his squad charged out of the gate, going 18-3 to start the season en route to the First Half South Division crown. In the postseason, the Mets defeated the Bradenton Marauders to take the South Division Championship before falling in the FSL Championship Series.
The former catcher logged 13 seasons in the minor leagues as a player after being drafted in the 21st round by the San Diego Padres in 1988. He reached as high as Triple-A with the Las Vegas Stars before joining the Milwaukee Brewers organization in 1995. Lopez finished his playing career with the Houston Astos’ system in 2000. In 909 career games, he hit .247, clocked 49 home runs and drove in 338 runs.
Pedro and his wife, Gladys, have twin daughters, Leslian Marie and Lainey Marie and reside in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico.
Entering his third season in the New York Mets’ organization, Abbott returns to the Southern Tier for his second year as pitching coach. Prior to his time with the Mets, Abbott was a pitching coach for five years in the San Diego Padres’ system, spent four seasons with the Texas Rangers’ organization and logged 13 years at various levels with the Oakland Athletics. The Arkansas native began his coaching career with the Little Falls Mets in 1985.
After getting drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 8th round in 1969, Abbott spent 11 seasons in the Major Leagues as a starting pitcher for the A’s (1973-76), Seattle Mariners (1977-83) and Detroit Tigers (1983-84). In 248 career games, the righty made 206 starts, went 62-83, amassed a 4.39 ERA, struck out 484 batters and hurled five shutouts.
As a member of the Athletics in 1975, Abbott was part of the first four-pitcher no-hitter in MLB history. On September 28, he combined with Vida Blue, Paul Linblad, and Rollie Fingers to baffle the Angels on the final day of the regular season.
Abbott resides with his wife, Patti, in North Little Rock, Arkansas. The couple has three children, Todd, Jeff and Amy.
Luis Natera will serve as the B-Mets hitting coach for the sixth straight season and seventh overall. This year marks Natera’s 22nd in the Mets’ organization. He has served as a hitting coach at five different levels during that timeframe, including stints with Buffalo (AAA, 2009), St. Lucie (High-A, 2007), Hagerstown (Low-A, 2005-06), Kingsport (Rookie, 2003-04), and Capital City (Low-A, 1999).
Natera served in his native country as coordinator of the Mets’ Dominican Academy in 2001 and 2002. He managed the Dominican Mets (Rookie) in 2002 and skippered the DSL Mets from 1992-1997.
The 47-year-old played shortstop in the Mets’ system from 1984 to 1988 and reached as high as Low-A Savannah Sand Gnats. He lives with wife Maria Elena and their sons Luis Alberto, Jose Luis, and David Luis.
The B-Mets also welcome back athletic trainer Matt Hunter for his third season and strength & conditioning coach Dustin Clarke for his second campaign. Hunter entered the ranks of fatherhood this offseason when he and wife, Kendra welcomed son Nicolas Marco to the world on October 16.
The B-Mets kick off their 22nd season on Thursday, April 4 on the road against the Akron Aeros. Fans can get their first glimpse of the boys of summer at the home opener at NYSEG Stadium on April 11 when they host the New Hampshire Fisher Cats at 6:35 PM.