Montoyo, staff return to Bulls for another season
Despite not winning the International League South Division for the first time in six seasons a year ago, the Durham Bulls announced Thursday that the entire coaching staff will be back for the upcoming season.
It will be the seventh season in Durham for manager Charlie Montoyo, who has a record of 471-392 (.546) with the Bulls and won the 2009 Triple-A National Championship. The Puerto Rican native, who has been a manager in the Rays organization for 16 years, trails only International League Hall of Famer Bill Evers (613) in career wins as the Bulls’ manager.
“Durham is like my second home now,” said Montoyo, who lives in Tucson, Ariz. “I’m very happy to be coming back to Durham; my kids are happy, my wife. We all know the area, the front office, the fans. It’s just like a second home.”
Also returning with Montoyo are hitting coach Dave Myers (fifth season), pitching coach Neil Allen (third season) and athletic trainer Mike Sandoval (second season).
Coming off five straight IL South titles under Montoyo, the Bulls finished 66-78 in 2012, 17 games behind Charlotte. They lost 13 straight games in April, helped in part by a brutal 14-game road trip.
“You figure that’s going to happen,” Montoyo said. “The more you’re in this game, you’re going to have years like that. But the funny thing about it is, looking back at it, I’m very proud of the way our coaches and everybody stayed positive the whole time, because we played .500 after that 13-game losing streak.”
Montoyo said he wasn’t concerned about his future in Durham after the losing season.
“My job is to develop guys, and if we can do while winning, great,” Montoyo said. “But my job is to make sure they’re becoming better ballplayers so they go to the big leagues.”
This year, Montoyo could be coaching Baseball America 2012 Minor League Player of the Year Wil Myers, who was traded along with other prospects from the Royals in exchange for former Bulls James Shields and Wade Davis. Montoyo said he won’t know until spring training if Myers will start in Durham.
“If he comes with us, that’ll be great because it’ll be fun to watch a kid like that play,” Montoyo said. “But if he doesn’t, good for him — he’ll be with the Rays, which is the whole purpose of having players like that.”
The Bulls begin the season April 4 at the Norfolk Tides. Their first game at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park is April 8 against the Gwinnett Braves.