The Fort Wayne TinCaps announced today that 29-year-old Michael Collins will manage their team this year.
Collins, in his third year as a manager in the San Diego Padres organization, played 10 seasons in the minor leagues, including 2004 and 2005 with the Cedar Rapids Kernels. He collectively batted .293 with 8 HR, 76 RBI and 16 SB in 133 Midwest League games. In 2005, he finished third in the league with a .320 batting average.
Collins is a native of Canberra, Australia, and is the second skipper from Down Under to join the managerial ranks of the Midwest League this year. Andrew Graham, the new manager of the West Michigan Whitecaps, is the other. Graham is a native of Sydney, Australia.
Collins replaces Jose Valentin, who was promoted to San Diego’s major-league coaching staff after two years at the helm of the TinCaps.
Former big-league pitcher Burt Hooton, 63, returns for a second season as Fort Wayne’s pitching coach. Hitting coach Morgan Burkhart, 41, also returns for a second season with the TinCaps.
Click here to read more about the TinCaps coaching staff.
Rattlers’ field gets new name
In other Midwest League news today, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers announced a 10-year naming rights deal with the Neuroscience Group, a multi-specialty physician practice focused on diagnosis and treatment of the nervous system. The team will now play its home games on Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium.
Fox Cities Stadium opened in 1995 and was known as Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium from 2007-2013.
The team is celebrating its 20th season as the Timber Rattlers this year.