Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Fresh off one of the best seasons in Binghamton Mets history, the New York Mets announced today that manager Pedro Lopez, hitting coach Luis Natera and pitching coach Glenn Abbott will return to guide the Double-A club in 2014. Two newcomers, athletic trainer Deb Iwanow and strength and conditioning coach Jake Henderson, round out the staff.
Lopez, 44, led the 2013 Binghamton Mets to a franchise-record 86 wins and a trip to the postseason, their first since 2004. The club compiled the best record in the Eastern League and took home the regular season Eastern Division crown under their second-year manager.
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) punched their ticket to the New York-Penn League postseason with a 45-30 record. Lopez kept the success rolling with another trip to the postseason with the Savannah Sand Gnats (Low-A) in 2010. His 2011 St. Lucie Mets (High-A) made it all the way to the Florida State League 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 Triple-A with the Las Vegas Stars before joining the Milwaukee Brewers organization in 1995. Lopez finished his playing career in 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 fourth season in the New York Mets’ organization, Abbott returns to the Southern Tier for his third 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 seventh straight season and eighth overall. This year marks Natera’s 23rd 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 48-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.
Deb Iwanow will head to the Southern Tier for her first year as athletic trainer with the Binghamton Mets. The Delhi, New York native spent the previous three seasons with the St. Lucie Mets. A graduate of Ithaca College, she served as an assistant athletic trainer at Binghamton University in 2005 and 2006.
Jake Henderson takes the reins as strength and conditioning coach for the first time at Double-A. He logged four years in the same capacity with the St. Lucie Mets. The Detroit, Michigan native also spent time with the Brooklyn Cyclones (SS-A) and Kingsport Mets (R) after graduating from Western Michigan University in 2004.
The B-Mets kick off their 23rd season on Thursday, April 3 against the Akron RubberDucks at NYSEG Stadium at 6:35 PM.
(Courtesy: Binghamton Mets)