PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Charlotte Stone Crabs will defend their FSL South division title with some familiar faces in the dugout: manager Jim Morrison, hitting coach Joe Szekely and athletic trainer Chris Tomashoff will all return with Neil Allen joining them as pitching coach for the upcoming 2010 season.
Morrison, 57, returns for his second year as manager of the Stone Crabs and third consecutive year as the manager of the Tampa Bay Rays High-A affiliate after managing the Vero Beach Devil Rays in 2008. He led the Stone Crabs to a 71-66 overall record last year and came within one game of clinching a League Championship after falling to the Tampa Yankees in the FSL Championship Series.
The former Major League infielder enters his 26th season in professional baseball and fourth season in the Rays’ organization. Before reaching the High-A level, Morrison managed the Low-A Columbus Catfish to a South Atlantic League title in 2007, and he also served stints as a roving infield instructor, coach and manager in the Philadelphia Phillies organization for seven years from 2000-06.
Before entering the coaching ranks in 2000, Morrison enjoyed a 15-year playing career as an infielder, including 12 major league seasons with the Phillies, White Sox, Pirates, Tigers and Braves before retiring in 1988. In 1,089 career games, he batted .260 with 112 home runs and 371 RBIs. He currently resides in Bradenton, Fla.
Allen joins the Stone Crabs as the only newcomer on the 2010 coaching staff after serving three seasons as the pitching coach for the Double-A Montgomery Biscuits. He begins his fourth year in the Rays organization after spending the previous seven with the New York Yankees organization, including 2005 when he served as the major league club’s bullpen coach.
He has also coached in the Toronto Blue Jays farm system from 1996-99 and made his coaching debut with Mobile of the independent Texas-Louisiana League in 1995. Prior to his coaching career, Allen, 52, pitched 11 seasons in the Major Leagues with the New York Mets (1979-83), St. Louis Cardinals (1983-85), New York Yankees (1985, 1987-88), Chicago White Sox (1986-87) and Cleveland Indians (1989). He currently resides in nearby Sarasota, Fla.
Szekely, 48, also returns for a second season with the Stone Crabs after serving in the same capacity last year. He enters his sixth season in the Rays’ organization with four years spent as a manager in Princeton, Vero Beach, Visalia and Southwestern Michigan. Under his tutelage, Stone Crabs hitters compiled a .242 batting average with 526 runs scored during the 2009 season. Szekely spent six seasons with the Kansas City Royals organization before joining the Rays in 2005. Before coaching, he played 11 Minor League seasons with four different organizations.
Rounding out the coaching staff is athletic trainer Chris Tomashoff who enters his 15th year in the Rays’ organization. Prior to joining the Stone Crabs, Tomashoff spent the previous three seasons as the assistant athletic training coordinator for the Rays’ minor league system. In 2004, he was named the California League Trainer of the Year by the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society. He studied sports medicine at the University of Washington and has earned notoriety for his performances of the National Anthem at several ballparks around the country including several at Charlotte Sports Park last season.
- From the team press release.