The Jacksonville Suns announced that 2011 Field Manager Andrew Barkett will return for his second season with the Suns, and that John Duffy will also return for his third season as Pitching Coach, in 2012.
New additions to the staff will include former Suns player Kevin Randel as the Hitting Coach, replacing Corey Hart, and Julio Hernandez will be the Athletic Trainer, as Dustin Luepker gets the call up to AAA New Orleans, after working in Jacksonville for two seasons.
Andy Barkett, in his first season in Jacksonville, led the Suns to a 70-70 record and narrowly missed the playoffs in the first half of the 2011 season.
A former first baseman and outfielder, Barkett spent 11 years in professional baseball with the Rangers, Braves, Pirates, Devil Rays, Tigers, and Mariners organizations. He saw 17 games in the Majors with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2001 and amassed 14 hits including one homerun and three RBI's in 46 at-bats.
Barkett is a native of Miami, FL and attended North Carolina State University. He resides in Oviedo, FL with his wife Brandy and their three children Jade, Isiah and Emma.
John Duffy enters his third season in Jacksonville as the pitching coach. Overall, Duffy has 21 seasons of coaching experience including his time at the high school, independent as well as affiliated minor leagues. Duffy played six seasons of professional baseball in the Detroit Tigers organization during the 1980s. Duffy and his wife, Angela, live in Bay Minette, AL.
Kevin Randel begins his first season in Jacksonville as the hitting coach after spending his whole playing career in the Marlins organization from 2002-2009 and acted as hitting coach for the Greensboro Grasshoppers in 2010 and 2011. Randel was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 48th round of the 2001 MLB June Amateur Draft and the Florida Marlins in the 13th round of the 2002 MLB Draft.
In 2009, Randel hit .253 with 12 homeruns and 49 runs batted in with the Jacksonville Suns and was a key part of the 2009 Southern League Championship season.
Julio Hernandez enters his first season in Jacksonville as the athletic trainer after spending the 2011 season in Jupiter with the Hammerheads.
Hernandez, a University of South Florida graduate, spent the previous three seasons with the Grasshoppers and the GCL Marlins in 2007.