The New York Mets announced today that Pedro Lopez will serve as manager of the Binghamton Mets for the 2012 season. Lopez takes the reins in the Southern Tier after leading the St. Lucie Mets to the Florida State League Championship Series last year.
“I am extremely happy to get this promotion and thankful to the Mets’ front office,” said Lopez. “Last year with St. Lucie was a great season; especially for the young kids. It will be great to have a good number of them up in Binghamton this year.”
Lopez, 43, will be joined by hitting coach Luis Natera and pitching coach Glenn Abbott. Team trainer Matt Hunter and strength and conditioning coach Dustin Clarke round out the field staff.
Last year marked Lopez’s first season at the High-A level as a manager. His St. Lucie squad charged out to 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 to the Daytona Cubs in the FSL Championship Series.
Lopez is more than familiar with professional baseball. The former catcher logged 13 seasons in the minor leagues 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.
After hanging up his playing cleats in 2000, Lopez got right back on the field as a coach in the Texas Rangers system in 2001. He served as a manager and coach in the Rangers system for seven years before latching on with the Mets’ organization in 2008.
Lopez has steadily climbed the Mets’ minor league managerial ladder; compiling winning records at each stop. 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.
With the action beginning to heat up in the Mets’ Spring Training home of Port St. Lucie, Florida, Lopez is ready to get his B-Mets prepared for their 142-game schedule. “The most important thing this Spring Training is that everybody is in good shape, great health, and ready for a great season,” said Lopez.
Pedro and his wife, Gladys, have twin daughters, Leslian Marie and Lainey Marie and reside in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico.
Glenn Abbott comes to the Binghamton Mets as pitching coach after serving the Savannah Sand Gnats in the same capacity last year. Abbott’s Sand Gnats staff led the South Atlantic League in 2011 with a 3.26 ERA. They also combined for the most saves (50) and lowest WHIP (1.223).
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 fifth straight season and sixth overall. This year marks Natera’s 21st 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 46-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 kick off their 21st season with a bang on Thursday, April 5 at NYSEG Stadium when they host the Akron Aeros at 6:35pm with a fireworks show to follow the final out.
Fans can meet Lopez, Abbott, Natera and the rest of the 2012 Binghamton Mets at the Welcome Back Mets Dinner on Tuesday, April 3 at the Riverwalk Hotel.
Official Binghamton Mets press release.