Squirrels get new skipper

by Matt Lincoln

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - In just their second season, the Richmond Flying Squirrels have a new man to lead them on the field.

The Giants have moved around their managers in their farm system, and the Squirrels are getting someone with plenty of experience. Veteran skipper Dave Machemer takes over the team.

2011 will mark Machemer's 38th season in professional baseball, the last six of which have been spent with the Giants organization.  Machemer, who guided the Augusta GreenJackets (A – South Atlantic League) each of the past two seasons, takes over for Andy Skeels, who led the club during their inaugural season in Richmond.  In 2010, Machemer led the GreenJackets to the best record (79-59) in the South Atlantic League's Southern division and second best mark overall.  In 2009, his Augusta squad boasted the best overall record (76-63) in the SAL.  Many of the players from those teams have been called up to AA, and Machemer will be managing them in Richmond.  2011 will mark a return to the Eastern League for Machemer, having previously managed the Flying Squirrels' predecessor, the Connecticut Defenders, for three seasons (2005-07).   

Pitching Coach Ross Grimsley will return for his second season with the Squirrels, and Ken Joyce will serve as the team's Hitting Coach.

Grimsley returns to Richmond for his second season as Pitching Coach.  It will also mark his 13th season with the Giants organization, and third consecutive at the Double-A level.  In 2010, his hurlers ranked fourth in the Eastern League in both ERA (3.71) and Runs Allowed (586).  In 2009, the Defenders staff posted the 3rd lowest ERA (3.53) in the EL.  He spent the previous four seasons (2005-08) with the Augusta GreenJackets.

In his second season with the Giants organization, Joyce will succeed Russ Morman as Hitting Coach.  Joyce and Morman are actually trading roles from 2010, when Joyce served as the Hitting Coach for the Fresno Grizzlies (Triple-A – Pacific Coast League).  The Grizzlies finished 4th in the PCL with a collective .283 batting average.  He also oversaw the final development of Buster Posey, who hit .347 in 47 games with Fresno, before ascending to San Francisco and claiming National League Rookie of the Year honors.  Prior to joining the Giants, Joyce spent eight seasons (2002-09) as a coach and manager in the Toronto Blue Jays organization.

 Rounding out the 2011 field staff are Athletic Trainer Eric Ortega and Strength & Conditioning Coach Garrett Sherrill.  Ortega returns to Richmond after serving in the same capacity during the 2010 season, while Sherrill will begin his first year with the Flying Squirrels.

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