Fresh off a first-half North Division title in 2012, the Tulsa Drillers have shook things up heading into the 2013 season.
Kevin Riggs, the team's hitting coach last year, will replace Duane Espy as the manager. Espy has been promoted and will serve as the Supervisor of Double A Development, a new position developed by Tulsa's parent club, the Colorado Rockies.
Riggs will become the 20th full-time manager in team history. It will be the first managerial job for the 44-year-old, making him the first Drillers manager to have never previously managed in the minor leagues.
He has spent the past six years serving as a hitting coach in the Rockies system, spending time in Casper, Asheville, and Modesto before moving to Tulsa last season.
Espy will move into his new role after managing the Drillers for the last two seasons. Espy will work closely with Riggs on a daily basis. The Development Supervisor is a new position that the Rockies will implement at all minor league levels this season.
The Rockies released the following statement describing the roles of the supervisors.
The Development Supervisor is a leadership role that is highly responsible for the oversight and implementation of the Rockies development philosophies and practices. The Development Supervisor will be a team-builder who will create synergy among staff members so that they may generate and evaluate best practices on a daily, weekly, monthly and season-long basis.
The Development Supervisors will serve as leaders in communication, so that consistency and continuity of organizational philosophies, execution, standards and expectations exist from level to level. In addition, the Development Supervisors will creatively seek out solutions to issues and challenges, so that we establish a foundation of winning with a focus on the professional and personal development of our players. The Development Supervisor will travel with their respective club.
Espy spent two seasons as Tulsa's manager, compiling a 143-136 regular season record. In 2012, he led the Drillers to their first playoff appearance in five years.
The Drillers will also have a new pitching coach, a new hitting coach, and a new trainer this season. Darryl Scott has been named pitching coach after serving in the same capacity in Modesto for the last three years. He will replace Dave Schuler, who has moved into the same position at Triple A Colorado Springs.
Scott has coached in the minors since 2009, following an 11-year professional playing career. The right-handed pitcher made it to the majors, pitching in 16 games for the California Angels during the 1993 season.
Darin Everson will replace Riggs as the team's hitting coach. Everson will be in his first year in the Rockies system, having previously coached and managed at several levels in minor league baseball.
He managed in the independent Atlantic League for the Washington Wild Things in 2010 and 2011. Everson also managed in the Florida Marlins system with Short-Season Jamestown (2007-2008) and Class A Greensboro (2009).
For the first time in six years, the Drillers will also have a new trainer. Chris Dovey moves to Tulsa, replacing Austin O'Shea who has served as the team's trainer since 2007.
Brian Buck will fill the final role on the Tulsa staff, joining the Drillers as the team's strength and conditioning trainer.
Tulsa is scheduled to open the regular season Texas League schedule on April 4 in San Antonio. One week later, the Drillers will play their home opener at ONEOK Field, hosting the Missions on Thursday, April 11.