06/14/2011 2:30 PM
The defending McNamara Division champion Brooklyn Cyclones will commence their eleventh season in the New York-Penn League on the road this Friday at Richmond County Ballpark against the Staten Island Yankees (7PM). The team will open their 2011 home slate the following day - Saturday, June 18th at 6:30 PM - against the rival Yankees.
Led by manager Rich Donnelly, as well as pitching coach Frank Viola and hitting coach Bobby Malek, the Cyclones will look to build upon a successful 51-24 mark and second place finish made by predecessor and current Binghamton Mets’ skipper Wally Backman in 2010.
Donnelly, who begins his first season in the Mets’ organization, spent the past three seasons as a roving minor league instructor for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Ohio native has 27 years of Major League coaching experience, including a stint as the third base coach for the Florida Marlins in 1997 under Jim Leyland. Most recently at the Major League level, he served in the same role for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2007. Rich signed as a catcher for the Minnesota Twins in 1967, playing in four minor league seasons.
Viola, better known to most as “Sweet Music”, compiled 15 seasons in the Major Leagues finishing 176-150 with a 3.73 ERA. The three-time All Star received the American League Cy Young Award in 1988 after going 24-7 with a 2.64 ERA and was also the World Series MVP for the 1987 Minnesota Twins. The former lefthander spent three seasons in Flushing from 1989-1991 going 38-32 with a 3.30 ERA. This will be Viola’s first professional coaching experience, previously serving as the manager of the Leesburg Lightning in the Florida Collegiate Summer League from 2008-2010.
Malek, who begins his season coaching in the Mets’ organization, spent 2010 and 2009 serving on the coaching staff of the Kingsport Mets (R). He also was an outfielder in the Mets’ minor league system from 2002-2007, reaching Triple A with the Norfolk Tide in 2006. The Michigan native was a two-time All-American for the Michigan State Spartans and was selected in the fourth round of the 2002 Rule IV First-Year Player Draft.
The Cyclones’ roster consists of four players from the recent 2011 Major League Baseball Draft including infielder Daniel Muno (8th Round, Fresno State) as well as outfielders Jonathan Clark (17th Round, Lee University), Travis Taijeron (18th Round, Cal Poly Pomona) and Charley Thurber (Tennessee, 39th Round).
Seven players return to Coney Island from last season including third basemen Brian Harrison who tied a franchise mark with six RBI vs. Mahoning Valley on July 15th, 2010.
Right-hander Eduardo Aldama will take the hill for the Cyclones on Opening Night. The native of Venezuela finished 2010 with the Kingsport Mets (R) going 2-3 with a 4.95 ERA allowing two runs or less in five of eight starts.
The home opener on Saturday (6:30 PM) will feature the Cyclones’ and MCU Park debut of left-hander Carlos Vazquez. One of three players from Mexico on the current roster, Vazquez spent most of 2010 with the GCL Mets (R) making five starts and finishing 4-2 with a 4.72 ERA as well as three saves.
Tickets are on sale now by calling 718-507-TIXX, visiting MCU Park or right here at BrooklynCyclones.com