Posted by Mark Wilder - email
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Billy Gardner, Jr. will return in 2010 for his fourth season as the Montgomery Biscuits' manager, according to the Tampa Bay Rays announcement of minor league coaching staffs today. With this announcement Gardner passes manager Charlie Montoyo (2004-2006) as the most tenured manager in Biscuits history.
Gardner, who guided last year's Biscuits to a 65-74 mark, will be back as manager, joined by fellow returning coach Ozzie Timmons, who will be leading Montgomery's hitters for his second season. Bill Moloney has been named pitching coach after serving in the same capacity for Charlotte (A) last season and Auburn alumnus Lee Slagle will return to the team for his second year as the Biscuits' trainer.
For Gardner, 2010 will be his seventeenth season in professional baseball, fifteenth as a minor league coach. The native of Connecticut carries a career mark of 980-977, and a 215-203 record as the skipper for the Biscuits. In his debut season in butter and blue (2007) Gardner led the Biscuits to a league-best 81-59 record and their second consecutive Southern League Championship. He was also awarded with Southern League Manager of the Year honors following that season.
Gardner, 43, is the son of former major leaguer Billy Gardner, Sr., who managed the Twins from 1981-85 and the Royals for part of the 1987 season. Prior to his 2007 debut with the Biscuits, he (Jr.) previously managed the Dayton Dragons (Midwest League, 2006), High Desert Mavericks (California League, 2005), Wilmington Blue Rocks (Carolina League, 2003-4), Sarasota Reds (Florida State League, 2002), Trenton Thunder (Eastern League, 2000-1), Augusta GreenJackets (South Atlantic League, 1999), Michigan Battle Cats (Midwest League, 1997-8) and coached the Lowell Spinners (New York-Penn, 1996) and Butte Copper Kings (Pioneer, 1995).
Timmons, 39, a Tampa native and former Rays outfielder, returns to the Biscuits for a second year and fourth within the Rays organization. In 2009 Timmons joined the Biscuits as hitting coach. His hitters ended the Southern League season with a .238 batting average.
Timmons is a veteran of 19 years, including his sixteen in the player ranks. Selected by the Chicago Cubs in the fifth round of the 1991 June Draft, he played 16 seasons with the Cubs, Reds, Mariners, Rays, Braves, Diamondbacks and Mets organizations as well as the Chunichi Dragons of the Japanese Baseball League, the Mexican League and Atlantic City of the independent Atlantic League. During his major league career as an outfielder he batted .235 with 20 doubles and 20 home runs in 186 games.
Moloney is new to the Biscuits organization. Moloney replaces three-year coach Neil Allen, who remains in the Rays organization serving in the same capacity for the Charlotte Stone Crabs (A). Moloney enters his fourth season as a pitching coach in the Rays' organization after spending the previous with the Stone Crabs. In 2009, Moloney led his pitching staff to a 3.65 ERA and their first Florida State League playoff appearance. His 24-year coaching career includes stints with the Cincinnati Reds (2001-06) and Boston Red Sox (1995-2000). In 2002, his Class-A Stockton staff led the California League with a 3.20 ERA and 12 shutouts.
Prior to coaching, Moloney pitched in the Red Sox minor league system from 1979-1984 and reached Triple-A Pawtucket before suffering a significant finger injury that ended his playing career. He spent the next 11 years as the Red Sox batting practice pitcher before making his coaching debut in 1995 with Class-A Michigan. Moloney played baseball at Lowell High School in Massachusetts where he led the nation with a 1.00 ERA his senior year.
Slagle will be returning to the Biscuits organization for his second season. Slagle is a native of Montgomery and graduate of Auburn University. Slagle is a certified athletic trainer with the National Trainers Association and an associate member of the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society. He has previous experience in the Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians and Montreal Expos' organizations.
The Biscuits open their seventh season on April 8 at 7:05 p.m., when they face the Mobile BayBears at Riverwalk Stadium. Season tickets and group tickets are on sale now at www.biscuitsbaseball.com.
The Biscuits' 2010 Opening Day roster will not be announced until April.