Statement issued Thursday:
FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The Fort Wayne TinCaps, in conjunction with their major league affiliate San Diego Padres, announced the 2012 Field Staff today.
Former major leaguer Jose Valentin was named manager of the TinCaps, replacing Shawn Wooten in the dugout. Valentin was drafted by the Padres organization in 1986 and traded to the Milwaukee Brewers organization in 1992. Included in the deal was former major league slugger Gary Sheffield. Valentin made his major league debut on September 17, 1992.
Valentin, from Manati, Puerto Rico, played for 16 seasons in the major leagues, finishing his career with a .243 batting average, 816 runs batted in and 249 home runs. In addition to the Brewers, Valentin also spent time with the Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets, before retiring in 2009.
“Jose Valentin will join a long list of successful Fort Wayne managers that includes Gary Jones, Randy Ready, Doug Dascenzo and Shawn Wooten,” said Randy Smith, Vice President of Player Development and International Scouting for the Padres. “I am excited about what Jose will bring to the TinCaps and Padres organization. I have known Jose since he was 16 and was first beginning his playing career.
In 2004, Valentin became owner of the Santurce Crabbers of the Puerto Rico Baseball League and he has spent the last several years as an instructor at the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy and High School in Gurabo.
Valentin will be joined in the dugout by pitching coach Willie Blair, who was in the same role with the TinCaps in 2011. Blair spent 12 seasons in the major leagues with eight different teams, finishing with a career mark of 60-86. The hitting coach for the TinCaps is still to be determined.
“Jose played with passion and terrific instincts for 16 years at the major league level and I am confident he will develop our young players in the same mold,” Smith added. “Jose and Willie give us a great tandem and represent the organization well.”
Last year, under Blair’s guidance, the TinCaps pitching staff finished with a 3.99 earned run average during the regular season, 1,117 strikeouts which was fourth-best in the Midwest League and the 11 shutouts hurled by TinCaps pitchers was third-best in the league.
In addition to Blair, the Padres announced that Dan Turner will return to Fort Wayne as the TinCaps trainer. Turner will be in his second full season in Fort Wayne and fourth with San Diego.