By Brian Delettre / Jacksonville Suns
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Suns will have a new manager for the first time in four seasons as David Berg takes over as the field manager for the 2015 season.
Berg is the first skipper change for the Suns since the 2011 season and fourth overall manager since the team’s affiliation with the Marlins began in 2009. Rich Arena is back in Jacksonville for his new role as hitting coach and Derek Botelho, a former Jacksonville Suns pitcher from 1981-82, was named pitching coach following a 12-year coaching career in the Atlanta Braves system.
Cesar Roman and Scott Smith are back for their second season in Jacksonville as trainer and strength and conditioning coach, respectively, to round out the staff.
Berg, who is in his sixth season in the Marlins organization, has spent two of the last three seasons as manager for the single-A affiliate Greensboro Grasshoppers. In 2014, Greensboro finished the year with an 87-53 record, tied for first in the division and earned a playoff berth. He spent the 2013 season as the Marlins minor league infield coordinator after leading Greensboro to the South Atlantic League Championship series in 2012. Berg began managing in the Marlins system for the Jamestown Jammers in 2010.
As a player, Berg was selected by the Marlins out of the University of Miami in the 38th round of the 1993 First-Year Player Draft. He made his Major League debut for the Marlins on April 2, 1998 and he became the lowest-ever draft pick by the franchise to reach the Major Leagues. Berg hit a career best .313 average for the Marlins in 1998. Following the 2001 season, Berg signed with Toronto where he played for three seasons.
Arena enters his third season working with the Suns and fourth overall with the Miami Marlins organization. For the past two seasons, he was the Suns third-base coach and worked with the Suns hitters during daily sessions. Arena spent the 2012 season as the hitting coach for the Jamestown Jammers.
Before getting back into affiliated coaching, Arena worked at Team One Management from 2010-11 and coached as his alma mater, Tampa (Fla.) Catholic High School, from 2007-09. He spent the previous 10 years as a scout and coach in the New York Yankees minor league system.
Botelho brings more than 35 years of coaching experience as he enters his first season with the Marlins organization. In 2014, he was the Braves minor league pitching rehabilitation instructor where he was based out of the team facility located in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., and worked with minor league pitchers on rehab. Botelho previously served as pitching coach for six Braves affiliates, including the Mississippi Braves in the 2007-08 seasons. Botelho was the pitching coach for the U.S. team in the Future’s Game during the 2009 season. Before the Braves organization, Botelho spent 12 seasons as a pitching coach in the Reds’ organization and 10 years as a player and coach in the Venezuelan winter leagues.
Originally drafted as a shortstop in 1974 by Philadelphia, Betelho eventually signed as a pitcher in 1976 with the Phillies. He compiled more than 100 wins in the minor leagues, and had two stints in the majors in 1982 (Kansas City Royals) and in 1985 (Chicago Cubs). Botelho pitched for the Suns when they were a Royals affiliate during the 1981 and 1982 seasons, combining for 102 innings of work.
Roman is in his ninth year overall as a trainer in the Marlins organization. Before the Marlins, he worked in the Texas Rangers organization (2003-06), while also serving as an athletic trainer for Team Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic in 2009 and 2013 and for Team Panama in the 2006 World Baseball Classic.
Smith is in his second year in the Marlins organization as strength and conditioning coordinator after working previously at Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville, Ga. Prior to his time in Georgia, Smith was a strength coach with minor league teams in the San Diego Padres, Tampa Bay Rays and Washington Nationals organizations.
The Jacksonville Suns open the season on April 9 to kick off a 20-game home stand at Bragan Field. Season tickets, group outings and sponsorship opportunities for the 2015 season are available by contacting the Suns front office at 904-358-2846 or visiting the team website at jaxsuns.com.