Dave Brundage named skipper of 2017 River Cats

Brundage backed by returning hitting coach Damon Minor, pitching coach Dwight Bernard

The Sacramento River Cats, in conjunction with the San Francisco Giants, are excited to welcome Dave Brundage as manager of the River Cats for the 2017 season.

Brundage is the only new face to the field staff as the rest of 2016's coaching and training outfit will return to Raley Field for this coming season. Alongside Brundage will be hitting coach Damon Minor (second season) and pitching coach Dwight Bernard (third season). LJ Petra is back for this third season as Athletic Trainer while Strength and Conditioning Coach Adam Vish (second season) rounds out the club's 2017 field staff.

An Oregon native, Brundage joins the River Cats with nearly two decades of managerial experience. The veteran manager spent the last four seasons with the International League's Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Philadelphia Phillies Triple-A), compiling a 286-289 record (.489). Last year, Brundage led the IronPigs to an 85-58 record, the second best mark in all of Triple-A baseball.

Brundage, 52, made his managerial debut in 1995 with the Riverside Pilots (Seattle Mariners Class A-Advanced) but has spent most of his managerial career at either the Double- or Triple-A levels. Prior to his four seasons with Lehigh Valley, Brundage helmed the Richmond/Gwinnett Braves for six seasons from 2007 through 2012. He made his Triple-A debut in 2006 with the Pacific Coast League's Tacoma Rainiers. Brundage has a career record of 1,371-1,315 (.510) in 19 seasons as a manager and a 793-781 (.504) mark at the Triple-A level.

Drafted in the 4th round of the 1986 Amateur Draft out of Oregon State University, Brundage spent 10 seasons as a player in the Minor Leagues with the Phillies and Mariners organizations.

Minor, 42, returns to the River Cats for his second season as hitting coach. In his first year with the team, the River Cats saw their team batting average climb four points to .272, good for sixth best in the Pacific Coast League in 2016. Minor worked closely with Giants prospect Austin Slater as he adjusted to Triple-A pitching. Slater went on to claim the PCL's August Player of the Month award with a .381 average, nine home runs, and 26 RBI in 30 games.

A former Giant, Minor was drafted by San Francisco in 1996 and made his Major League debut in 2000. In 136 games over parts of four seasons, Minor hit .232 with 13 home runs. He set a career-high in 2002 when he played in 83 games and slugged 10 home runs, helping the Giants claim the National League pennant. While in the Giants farm system, he compiled a .277 batting average with 179 home runs and 648 RBI across nine seasons.

Minor spent the 2016 offseason serving as the hitting coach for the Scottsdale Scorpions (Arizona Fall League), where he worked with potential future River Cats hitters Aramis Garcia, Ryder Jones, and Hunter Cole.

Bernard returns for his third season as pitching coach for the River Cats. In his first two seasons with Sacramento, Bernard coached the River Cats staff to a 3.85 and 4.03 ERA, the first and third-best marks in franchise history respectively. Under his guidance, Clayton Blackburn claimed the PCL ERA title in 2015 (2.85 ERA) and finished second in Pitcher of the Year voting. In 2016, Ty Blach was named left-handed Pitcher of the Year while under Bernard's tutelage. Blach went 14-7 with a 3.43 ERA for the River Cats last season before going 1-0 with a 1.06 ERA in four games for the Giants in September.

Like Brundage, Bernard brings exceptional experience to his role as pitching coach, having spent 31 seasons as a pitching coach or coordinator dating back to 1986. 

Petra enters his ninth consecutive season in the Giants organization and third as Athletic Trainer in Sacramento. The University of Connecticut graduate joined the River Cats field staff in 2015 after spending the 2014 season in Fresno. Prior, Petra was with Double-A Richmond for two seasons (2012-13), and both Augusta (2009) and San Jose (2011) for one season each. Before joining the Giants organization, Petra spent 2007-08 as the assistant athletic trainer and head strength and conditioning coach for the Bowie Baysox, Double-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles.

Vish starts his fifth season in the Giants organization as a Strength and Conditioning Coach and second in Sacramento. Entering his sixth season in professional baseball, Vish previously worked in the Kansas City Royals minor league system during the 2011 and 2012 seasons. He was named the Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year for the Carolina League (Advanced A) in 2012 and is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh's Master of Science (MS), Exercise and Human Physiology program