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Oneonta names Manager

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Published: December 15, 2007 04:00 am

Hello, Newman

By P.J. Harmer

Staff Writer

Oneonta, start your engines.

Ryan Newman will make Oneonta his home this summer, when the former New York-Penn League player and coach who shares his name with one of NASCAR's top drivers will manage the Single-A Oneonta Tigers.

O-Tigers team owner Sam Nader announced the hire Friday afternoon. Newman said the Detroit Tigers offered him the position Tuesday and he accepted it Thursday.

"I'm excited to come to the Tigers and I felt this was a good opportunity," Newman said from his home in Scottsdale, Ariz. "The way they run things and the way they move people is exciting. It gives you a boost of excitement."

Newman becomes the 26th manager in Oneonta history, the seventh since the team switched its affiliation from the New York Yankees to Detroit in 1999. He takes over for Andy Barkett, who was promoted to Single-A Lakeland last month after leading the O-Tigers to the Stedler Division title in his first season as a manager at any level of professional baseball last summer. Barkett led the O-Tigers to a 45-34 record and the first round of the NY-Penn playoffs. Eventual league champion Auburn eliminated Oneonta by winning their best-of-3 postseason series, two games to one.

"This is a great way to celebrate the holidays," said Newman, who inherits a team that has won four of the last six Stedler Division crowns. "Me and my wife (Megan) have been discussing it this week and it's a great opportunity for me, not just to manage, but to get in the Detroit organization."

Newman, 28, has spent his entire professional career in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, including the last three seasons as a coach. Although Newman played for NY-Penn rival Williamsport in 2002 and coached the Crosscutters in 2006, he has never been to Oneonta because the Tigers were on the road for both series.

Still, he became familiar with the area as a coach under former O-Tigers manager Kevin Bradshaw in the Hawaiian Winter League this year.

"He said the people are great, it's a beautiful area and a fun place to go in the summer," Newman said of Bradshaw, who managed the O-Tigers in their first season as an affiliate of Detroit, in 1999. "I heard things as a player about the ballpark, but I've heard they've done some things with the park."

Newman also coached this past season at Single-A Hickory under Gary Green, who managed Oneonta in 2000 and 2001.

Newman is the son of former major leaguer Jeff Newman, who played in nine major league seasons with the Oakland Athletics and Boston Red Sox. He also coached third base for 14 years at the major-league level with Cleveland, Oakland, Baltimore and Seattle.

An infielder who signed as an undrafted free agent in 2002, Ryan Newman played three seasons in the minor leagues for the Pirates, peaking at Single-A Lynchburg in 2004. A career .189 hitter (77-for-407), Newman had three doubles, a home run and 33 RBIs in his three professional seasons.

"I like to score runs," he said. "But it all comes down to the team we get out of mini-camp after the draft. ... I'm old-school where I think pitching and defense will win, but I'm aggressive on the offensive side."

New trainer

Nader also announced Tyler DePew will take over as the trainer of the O-Tigers, earning a promotion from the Gulf Coast League Tigers. DePew replaces Eric Hall, who earned a promotion to Single-A West Michigan.

DePew is in his third season with the Detroit organization.

Connolly signs with Tigers

Oneonta High graduate Jon Connolly, 24, signed a Triple-A contract Friday that will keep him in Detroit's organization.

"This was my free agent year, so I could have signed with anyone," said Connolly, a left-handed pitcher who went 7-7 with a 4.58 ERA for Double-A Erie and 1-1 with a 3.19 ERA for Triple-A Toledo last season. "Detroit wanted to sign me back and that was a good feeling."

Connolly, drafted by the Tigers in the 28th round of the 2001 draft, said he'll likely begin the season at Erie or Toledo.


P.J. Harmer can be reached at pharmer@thedailystar.com or 607-432-1000, ext. 229.

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