Coaching staff from last year’s playoff squad returns to Coney Island

March 4, 2013 Editorial Staff
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The coaching staff for the 2013 Brooklyn Cyclones features a lot of familiar faces. Rich Donnelly will serve as the team’s manager for the third consecutive year, while former Cyclones outfielder Bobby Malek returns to Coney Island as the hitting coach, for the third straight year.

Rounding out the staff will be Marc Valdes, who served as the pitching coach in Brooklyn during the 2012 campaign, when Cyclones hurlers led the New York-Penn League with a 2.62 team earned run average.

Donnelly, 66, begins his third season with the Mets organization and his third at the helm of the Cyclones.The Steubenville, Ohio native has guided Brooklyn to a 90-60 record and two playoff berths in his two years in Coney Island.

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He began his coaching career in 1972, serving as a minor league manager in the Texas Rangers’ farm system. In 1980, Donnelly joined the Rangers’ major league staff as the bullpen coach before returning to the minors for two more seasons. Starting in 1983, he began a string of 26 seasons working on the major league level, including 14 years as a member of Jim Leyland’s coaching staff with Pittsburgh, Florida and Colorado.

Donnelly served as the third base coach for the Marlins during their 1997 World Series title run. Originally signed as a catcher by the Minnesota Twins in 1967, he was a third base coach with the Milwaukee Brewers from 2003-2005 and played the same role for the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2006-2007.

Before joining the Mets organization, Donnelly worked as a roving instructor for the Pirates while also touring the country as a motivational speaker.

Malek, 31, enters his fifth season as a coach in the Mets minor league system and his third with the Brooklyn Cyclones. Originally selected by the Mets in the fourth round of the 2002 MLB Draft out of Michigan State University, the Livonia, Michigan native began his professional career with Brooklyn in 2002.

The two-time college All-American hit .207 (23-111) with Brooklyn in 28 games before having his season cut short due to injury. Prior to retiring from his playing career in 2008, Malek made it as high as Norfolk (AAA) of the International League in 2006.

Valdes, 41, enters his seventh season with the New York Mets and his second year with the Cyclones. The native of Dayton, Ohio served as pitching coach with the Brooklyn Cyclones in 2012 and helped guide a pitching staff that led the NYPL in E.R.A. and ranked second in strikeouts.

Prior to joining the Cyclones staff, he served in the same role with the Binghamton Mets (AA) in 2011, the Savannah Sand Gnats (A) from 2009-2010, and the Kingsport Mets (R) from 2007-2008.

Valdes pitched in the major leagues for six seasons (1995-2001) with the Florida Marlins, Montreal Expos and Atlanta Braves. In 144 career games, the right-hander went 12-15 with four saves and a 4.95 E.R.A. The resident of Tampa, Florida was the first-round selection by the Marlins in the 1993 draft after leaving the University of Florida as its all-time leader in wins (31), and innings (394.2) and ranked second in strikeouts (351).

“Rich, Bobby and Marc helped lead us to a fourth straight playoff berth in 2012,” said Cyclones General Manager Steve Cohen, “and we are excited to have them back again this season as we continue our quest for a New York-Penn League Championship.”

The 2013 season gets under way on Tuesday, June 18.

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