Yesterday, the Tulsa Drillers announced the coaches who have been assigned to work alongside first-year manager Ryan Garko for the 2016 season.
Joining Garko in the dugout will be two newcomers in pitching coach Bill Simas and hitting coach Terrmel Sledge. They will replace Matt Herges and Shawn Wooten respectively, both of whom were promoted to the Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers staff to fill the same roles they served in with the Drillers this past season. Returning to the Drillers from the 2015 on-field staff will be coach Leo Garcia.
Simas arrives in Tulsa for his sixth season as a pitching coach in the Dodgers minor league system. He previously worked in the same capacity for the Ogden Raptors from 2011-2012, the Great Lakes Loons from 2013-2014, and the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes in 2015.
Prior to coaching, Simas enjoyed a six-year tenure from 1995-2000 as a member of the Chicago White Sox where he compiled an 18-19 record with 23 saves and a 3.83 career ERA in 308 total MLB appearances.
Tommy John surgery took him out of the game for a year in 2001 before he battled back to pitch again in the White Sox, Dodgers, and Seattle Mariners organizations over the next 3 years.
Simas then spent time in the Mexican League in 2005 as well as with the independent Long Island Ducks from 2009-2010 before deciding to hang up his cleats and begin his coaching tenure in 2011.
Sledge comes to the Dodgers organization after spending the 2015 season as the assistant hitting coach for the Eugene Emeralds in the Chicago Cubs organization.
Before beginning his coaching career, the former outfielder left his name in the record books despite playing just four seasons in the big leagues.
He made his first entry when he recorded the last RBI in the history of the Montreal Expos during their final game in 2004. The next year, Sledge launched the first home run in Washington Nationals history during the club’s inaugural game against the Philadelphia Phillies.
After completing the 2007 season with the San Diego Padres, Sledge crossed the Pacific to continue his career in Japan. He played professionally there for five seasons from 2008-2012.
Garcia rejoins the Tulsa staff in the same capacity that he served in 2015. He has been a coach in the Dodgers organization since 2009. Prior to joining the Dodgers, he coached in the San Francisco Giants minor league system for 6 years and was their Latin America coordinator in 2007.
Before his coaching career began, Garcia spent 13 years in the White Sox, Royals, and Reds organizations as an outfielder, culminating with playing in parts of two major league seasons with the Reds in 1987 and 1988.
The Drillers will open their 2016 season on the road in Corpus Christi on April 7, but will play their first home game of the year at ONEOK Field against the same Corpus Christi Hooks on Thursday, April 14 at 7:05PM. Both full and mini-season ticket plans are still available and can be purchased through the Drillers Ticket Office online at TulsaDrillers.com or over the phone at 918-744-5901.