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Altoona Curve

Former Curve player Miguel Perez named team’s new manager

Graphic by Altoona Curve

For the first time ever, a former Altoona Curve player will be the team’s manager. That distinction will go to Miguel Perez, who was named today as the Curve’s manager for the upcoming season.

At 37, he’ll be the youngest manager in Curve history when the season starts. Dale Sveum also was 37 when he took over in 2001, but Perez is a couple of months younger than Sveum was at that time.

Perez, a catcher, played for Altoona in 2008, ’09, ’12 and ’13. A native of Venezuela, he played 12 seasons in the minor leagues, batting .268 with 22 homers and 214 RBIs. He reached the major leagues for two games in 2005 with the Cincinnati Reds, batting three times with no hits.

Perez has been in the Pirates’ system for 14 seasons. He served as a player-coach late in his playing career, including with the Curve. He has been a manager the past three years, the first two with the rookie-level Bristol Pirates and in 2019 with the Low-A Greensboro Grasshoppers.

The rest of the Curve’s coaching staff includes: pitching coach Drew Benes, hitting coach David Newhan and bench coach Gary Green. Tyler Brooks will be the team’s trainer.

The Curve did not play last season as all of minor league baseball was shut down. Dave Turgeon was scheduled to be Altoona’s manager last year, but he was not retained by the Pirates for this season.

More info on the coaches from the Curve’s press release:

Perez’s coaching career started with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2014. His first job in coaching was in the South Atlantic League, coaching third base for the West Virginia Power, under former Curve manager Michael Ryan.

As a player, Perez was originally signed by the Cincinnati Reds as a non-drafted free agent on November 15, 2000.  He made his professional debut with the VSL Reds in 2001.  Perez spent the majority of the 2005 season with Sarasota in the Florida State League, where he was named to the All-Star team.  He was also named as the Reds minor league Defensive-Player-of-the-Year that season.  Perez made his major league debut on September 7, 2005 for the Reds against the Milwaukee Brewers, becoming the first player from Guatire, Miranda, Venezuela to make the major leagues.

Perez is a native of Guatire, Miranda, Venezuela and resides in Guatire with his wife Mariafernanda Lara, who is a former gymnast for the Venezuelan Rhythmic Gymnastics team.  He has one daughter: Vanessa (14) and one stepdaughter, Jenifer (11).

Benes, 32 enters his 5th season as a coach in the Pirates Organization.  His latest post was as the Pitching Coach for the Bradenton Marauders in 2019.  Benes was slated to return to the Marauders for the 2020 season, prior to its cancellation due to Covid-19.  He also spent time as a coach in the Pirates system with the GCL Pirates (2018) and the West Virginia Power (2017).

Born in Evansville, IN Drew is the son of former major league pitcher Andy Benes and the nephew of former big leaguer Alan Benes and minor leaguer Adam Benes.  Benes was originally drafted as a third basemen by the Cincinnati Reds in the 47th round of the 2007 draft but did not sign.  He converted to a pitcher at Arkansas State University and was then selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 35th round of the 2010 draft.   Following his selection, he spent three seasons pitching in the St. Louis Cardinals organization and the 2013 season with the Texas Rangers and the River City Rascals of the Frontier League.

Following his playing career, Benes spent two years (2015-2016) running the Rawlings St. Louis Prospects Baseball Club.  The Club is a high school and youth baseball organization that focuses on the development of young athletes and provides training and exposure for them to meet their goals. Benes now resides in Bradenton, FL, with his wife Taylor and three children; son Andrew III (6) and daughters Brooklyn (4) and Addison (2).

Newhan, 46, joins the Pirates organization for his 10th season as a coach. He spent the 2019 season managing the Mobile BayBears, the Los Angeles Angels’ Double-A affiliate in the Southern League. He was also a manager in 2014 for the Vermont Lake Monsters, Single-A Short Season affiliate of the Oakland Athletics. Newhan was the Infield Coordinator for the Angels during the 2017-18 seasons after he served as the Assistant Hitting Coach of the Detroit Tigers in 2015-16 under manager Brad Ausmus. He started his coaching career in the San Diego Padres system in 2011 where he was the hitting coach for the A-Adv. affiliate, the Lake Elsinore Storm.

Newhan’s playing career spanned 14 years, including eight seasons in the majors with the Padres (1999-2000), Phillies (2000-01), Orioles (2004-06), Mets (2007) and Astros (2008). The Athletics drafted the infielder/outfielder in the 17th round in 1995 and he made his MLB debut with the Padres on June 4, 1999. Over 413 MLB games, Newhan hit .253 with 23 homers and 120 RBIs highlighted career-highs in batting average (.311), homers (8), doubles (15), triples (7) and RBIs (54) with the Orioles in 2004. A native of Fullerton, Calif., Newhan lives in Vista, Calif. with his wife, Karen and has two children, son Nico (15) and daughter Gianna (13).

Green, 59, joins the Curve as the bench coach for the 2021 season, entering his 16th season as a coach in the Pirates organization.  He has served as the Minor League Infield Coordinator/Roving Infield Instructor for the Pirates since the 2011 season.

Prior to the 2011 season, Green managed for four years in the South Atlantic League with West Virginia (2009-2010) and Hickory (2007-2008).  He also managed Class-A Lynchburg (2006), and served as the manager with Lakeland, the Detroit Tigers Class-A affiliate in the Florida State League (2002-2004).  Green managed in the New York Penn League with Oneonta (2000-2001) and in the Gulf Coast League (1999) in the Detroit Tigers organization.  He amassed a 588-713 (.488) record as a minor league manager.

Green was originally drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 1984 June draft.  He played in the San Diego organization from 1985-1989, spent two years in the Texas Rangers system and concluded his playing career in the Cincinnati organization from 1992-1995.  Green hit .222 in 106 games at the major league level.  He also served as the starting shortstop for Team USA in the 1984 Olympic Games.  Born in Pittsburgh, PA Green now resides in Arlington, TX.

Brooks comes to the Curve for his sixth year as a trainer with the Pirates after he was slated to spend the 2020 season with Bradenton. He spent the 2019 season with the West Virginia Black Bears and captured the Appalachian League Trainer-of-the-Year honors with the Bristol Pirates in 2018.  Brooks spent two seasons (2016-17) working at the Pirates academy in the Dominican Summer League and instructional leagues.  Prior to that, he spent part of the 2015 season as an Athletic Trainer intern in the Boston Red Sox organization.  Brooks is a Pennsylvania native born in Lebanon and now resides in Jonestown.

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Written By

Cory Giger is a 15-year veteran of the Penn State beat and a journalist with 28 years of experience. He has won more than 100 state and national journalism awards during his career, plus he's a voter for the Heisman Trophy in football and Wooden Award in basketball.

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