Memphis coaching staff back intact for 2011 season
*Left to right: Manager Chris Maloney, Hitting Rover Mark DeJohn and Hitting Coach Mark Budaska
MEMPHIS, TN – Manager Chris Maloney will return to Memphis to manage the Redbirds for the fifth straight season in 2011.
Maloney led the ‘Birds to their second consecutive Conference title this past season with a series sweep of Oklahoma City. The former Mississippi State Bulldog is 290-284 in four seasons with the Redbirds.Joining Maloney will be pitching coach Blaise Ilsley and hitting coach Mark Budaska, who both return to Memphis for their fourth season. Ilsley’s pitchers posted a 4.42 ERA for an 82-62 overall 2010 record, a Pacific CoastLeague-best. Budaska coached the hitters to their best batting average since 2009 with the team hitting .272 last season. Athletic Trainer Chris Conroy will also be back in the Redbirds dugout for his seventh year in Memphis.
The Redbirds begin their 12th season at AutoZone Park in April. They will take on the Oklahoma City RedHawks Thursday, April 7th at 7:05 p.m to kick off their Pacific Coast League home schedule. For ticket information visit memphisredbirds.com or call (901) 722-0299.
Outfielder Joe Mather is claimed off waivers by Atlanta Braves
Around 2:00 p.m. yesterday the St. Louis Cardinals announced on Twitter that Joe Mather had been claimed off waivers by the Atlanta Braves. It wasn’t more than five minutes later when hundreds of tweets appeared from Cardinals fans, sad to see their beloved “Joey Bombs” depart. Joe was touched to hear about all the support people expressed.
“That’s great, my mom told me she read some of the (Tweets)…I don’t get on the computer a whole lot and read any of it, but to hear that some people were sad to see me go- there were a lot of really nice things said, and to hear that is very humbling and it touches me all the way to my heart. That’s another thing about the Cardinals, the fans are amazing and I’ll definitely miss them too, there’s nothing like a Cardinals fan.”
Mather joined the Cardinals organization in 2001 after being selected in the third round (104th overall) of the June free-agent draft. He made his big league debut May 30th, 2008 displaying his talent in two different stints with St. Louis that year. The Arizona resident appeared in 90 games as a Cardinal from 2008-2010 with a .233 average (45Hx193AB), 27 runs, 19 extra-base hits and 21 RBI. Plagued with hand and wrist injuries, specifically a left hamate bone that was broken late 2008, Mather has had a hard time recovering and attaining the same success since his exceptional rookie season in the big leagues. Although he showed promise during 2010 spring training and landed himself a spot on the Cardinals’ Opening Day roster, the right-hander was recalled to Memphis May 28th.
Relied upon as a right fielder while with the Redbirds, Mather was capable of playing first base, third base, left field and center field also. After becoming a key player in the 2010 ‘Birds lineup, he was able to work on improving his performance, collecting 46 RBI and 55 runs in 91 regular season games. Mather also hit 12 home runs, including two bombs in game two of the playoffs against Oklahoma City, recognizing him as the first and only Redbird to hit two home runs in a single playoff game.
“That’s awesome,” he said after being told of his accomplishment. “There’s a lot of history…a lot of great players who have been here so it’s an honor to have that.”
Throughout the years, Mather has been a familiar face of the Memphis Redbirds and the Cardinals’ organization. He has enjoyed interacting with the fans at each level of baseball and made some lasting impressions, developing a large fan base. Joe Mather will be missed by Cardinals fans, who are upset to see him leave, but excited to see what he will do with this opportunity.
“Thank you, the biggest thing would be thank you.” Mather directed towards the fans. “Cardinals’ fans were always great to me, my family and friends. I’d be very surprised if I found better fans than the Cardinals anywhere. I’ll miss them and the love and support that I received; I’ll always respect and be a fan of Cardinals fans. They’re awesome, I’m going to miss you all and thanks again.”
A respected veteran of the Redbirds, several teammates looked up to Joe; as a role model or someone to depend on, but most of all, as a friend. We wish him the best of luck beginning a new journey with the Atlanta Braves and hope to see his hard work and positive attitude put to good use.
Thank you to everyone who sent in pictures of their amazing pumpkin carving skills! As promised, here is some of the Redbirds artwork fans carved out…
And the cutest pumpkin of all!…
Marketing Manager Erin O’Donnell’s puppy, Robert E. Lee!!
Only 157 days until Opening Day!