Headed by manager Rich Donnelly, the staff includes experienced hitting coach and former major league player Mariano Duncan plus former major and minor league pitcher Jerome Williams.
FROM PLAYER TO COACH
Williams arrives at Hunter Wright Stadium as the K-Mets’ pitching coach after many travels as a player.
The San Francisco Giants selected him with the 39th overall pick in the 1999 draft. Williams made his major league debut with the Giants in 2003 and he finished that season 7-5 with a 3.30 ERA.
Williams won 10 games with San Francisco the next season before being traded to the Chicago Cubs in 2005. That trade started a series of trips around the majors and minors.
Williams subsequently made stops with the Washington Nationals, Minnesota Twins, Los Angeles Dodgers, Oakland Athletics, Los Angeles Angels, Houston Astros, Texas Rangers, Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Cardinals. He gained notoriety on Sept. 20, 2014, when he became the first major league pitcher to beat the same club with three different teams. He beat the A’s while pitching for the Astros, Rangers and Phillies.
Williams wrapped up his major league career in 2016. The past two years, he played pro ball in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball and in the Mexican Baseball League then retired as a player in December.
Also new to the staff this season is Stephen Gaylor, the K-Mets’ development coach.
Gaylor played college baseball at Berry College and spent four years in the minor leagues with the Atlanta Braves organization.
READY TO PLAY BALL
Following extended spring training in Florida, Donnelly & Co. are ready for some competition.
“The kids and I are all ready to get to Kingsport and start playing some baseball,” Kingsport’s manager said. “We’ve been doing a lot of practicing and scrimmaging since February. We’re excited to start playing.
“We’ve also got some kids who haven’t been out of Florida. So this will be a big experience for them.”
The K-Mets open Tuesday on the road at Greeneville. After a two-game stint, the teams head to Hunter Wright for a single contest.
Kingsport’s home stint continues June 21-23 against Elizabethton in a rematch of last season’s Appalachian League West Division championship series.