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Mets Make Few Coaching Changes

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1Mets Make Few Coaching Changes Empty Mets Make Few Coaching Changes on Thu 23 Oct 2008, 9:32 pm

Sarah

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NEW YORK -- The coaching staff that begins the Mets' 2009 season will be quite similar to the one that ended the 2008 season. Four incumbents will return. As expected, hitting coach Howard Johnson, pitching coach Dan Warthen and bench coach Sandy Alomar Sr. have been signed for next year, as has Sandy Alomar Jr. as the catching instructor. The club also announced Thursday that Randy Niemann will serve as the bullpen coach, and that Razor Shines, a longtime acquaintance of manager Jerry Manuel, will coach third base.
Alomar Sr. began serving as bench coach when Manuel took over. Shines replaces Luis Aguayo, who was brought to the big leagues to coach third when the change in managers happened in June. Aguayo will be reassigned within the organization, as will Ken Oberkfell, who had coached first base after Willie Randolph's choice, Tom Nieto, was dismissed, and Guy Conti, who had been the bullpen coach.

Oberkfell is likely to manage the Mets' Triple-A affiliate, now in Buffalo. He had been the manager of the Triple-A affiliate in New Orleans beginning in 2007 and until he was appointed to Manuel's staff. He had managed the Triple-A team in Norfolk in 2005 and 2006 as well. Conti is particularly close to Pedro Martinez, and his absence from the big league staff is another indication of the unlikelihood of Martinez returning to the Mets.

Niemann, his replacement, has been the club's rehabilitation coordinator for two seasons. He had been the bullpen coach from the beginning of the 1997 season through June 6, 1999, and in the 2000, 2001 and 2002 seasons. He has been with the organization for 21 years.

Shines managed the Phillies' Class A Clearwater affiliate in the Florida State League to a 64-76 record in 2008, having served as the White Sox third-base coach the previous year. He and Manuel played in the Expos organization in the 1980s. They never were teammates in the big leagues.

Johnson was named hitting coach at the All-Star break in 2007. Warthen replaced Rick Peterson as pitching coach when the managerial change was made. Alomar Sr. will be in his 49th season in professional baseball and his fifth on the Mets' staff. He began the 2008 season as the third-base coach. Alomar Jr. is back for his second season as the Mets' catching instructor.


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