(Mustangs media release)
BILLINGS – The National League Cincinnati Reds announced today that Ray Martinez will return to Billings in 2019 for his fourth consecutive season as field manager of the Mustangs. Martinez has compiled a 117-109 (.517) regular season record in his three previous seasons in Billings, guiding the Mustangs to Pioneer League playoff appearances in 2016 and 2018.
Joining Martinez in Billings is pitching coach Chris Booker, hitting coach Darryl Brinkley, bench coach Bryan LaHair, athletic trainer Brandon Blascak and strength coach Blaine Taylor. Booker, LaHair and Blascak all return for their second season with the Mustangs, while Brinkley and Taylor arrive in Billings for their first season as members of the Mustangs coaching staff. Both Brinkley and Taylor spent the 2018 season with the Greeneville Reds of the Appalachian League.
“We couldn’t be more pleased that Ray Martinez is returning to manage the team again this season,” said Gary Roller, Mustangs General Manager. “He had successful seasons in ’16, ’17 and ’18, and we expect much of the same from him in 2019. This is a talented group of veteran coaches who we believe will provide the players with the type of quality leadership, direction and instruction that is so very important in the early stages of their professional development, both on and off the field.”
Martinez, 50, enters his ninth season in the Cincinnati organization. He managed the AZL Reds in 2015 and has served as the hitting coach for the Class-A Bakersfield Blaze (2013, 2014), Billings Mustangs (2012) and the AZL Reds (2011).
“We are so thrilled to have a staff of this caliber in Billings in 2019,” noted Reds Vice President of Player Development Shawn Pender. “Their combination of playing and coaching experience will provide a fantastic environment for players who are taking a critical first step in their respective careers. Under their leadership, we are confident that the 2019 club will play an exciting brand of baseball that Mustangs fans will be proud of.”
A former infielder, Martinez played in parts of 18 professional seasons, including stints in the California Angels, Montreal Expos, Florida Marlins, Cleveland Indians, New York Mets, Pittsburgh Pirates and San Diego Padres organizations. He was selected by California in the 7th round of the 1987 draft and played in more than 1,500 minor league games.
The 2019 season marks the 67th season that the Mustangs franchise has called Billings home and the 46th consecutive season that the club has served as the rookie affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. The partnership between the Mustangs and Reds, which began in 1974, is the longest running affiliation in the Pioneer League and one of the longest in all professional baseball.
The Mustangs open the ‘19 season at Dehler Park on Friday, June 14 when they play host to the Idaho Falls Chukars in the first game of a 3-game series. Game time for Opening Day is scheduled for 6:35 pm MST.