The Minnesota Twins announced last week that Jake Mauer has been named manager of the Fort Myers Miracle. The 30-year old becomes the 10th manager in the team's 18-year history. He replaces Jeff Smith, who has been promoted to Double-A New Britain.
Mauer joins Smith as the only two individuals to have played and managed the Miracle. Mauer played in 128 career games with Fort Myers (2003, 2005).
The St. Paul, Minn. native has spent the last two seasons guiding the Gulf Coast League Twins. In 2009, after leading the Twins to a first place finish in the GCL South Division (34-21) he was named GCL Manager of the Year.
"I am very excited for this great opportunity. I am coming over to a great league with an unbelievable facility and a very good staff to work with," said Mauer.
The former minor league infielder compiled a two-year mark of 69-42 at the helm of the GCL Twins.
Mauer was selected by the Minnesota Twins in the 23rd round (677th overall) of the 2001 Major League Baseball Draft. His younger brother and current Twins catcher, Joe, was selected number one overall in the same draft. The two brothers played together in Fort Myers during the 2003 season.
"It really doesn't seem that long ago that I played with the Miracle. I remember the great fans and atmosphere and look forward to being back in a Miracle uniform," said Mauer.
In five seasons in the Twins' farm system, Mauer compiled a .256 batting average with 82 runs batted in and no home runs. An elbow injury forced him to retire following the 2005 season. He accepted a job as a Minor League coach with the Twins, and in 2008, he was promoted to manager of the GCL Twins.
He was a standout at NCAA Division III University of St. Thomas. As senior in 2001, he set the University of St. Thomas season record for hits with 83, and is the school's career leader in hits (243), runs (181) and games (187). He was inducted into the St. Thomas Athletic Hall of Fame in 2007.
Joining Mauer in the dugout will be Pitching Coach Steve Mintz and Hitting Coach Jim Dwyer. Trainer Larry Bennese rounds out the staff for 2010.
Mintz, 40, will return for his second season as the Miracle pitching coach and seventh year overall with the Twins system. The 2009 pitching staff, led by FSL Pitcher of the Year David Bromberg, compiled the league's second best ERA (3.18).
Dwyer, 59, will enter his fifth season as the Miracle hitting coach and his 14th year in the Minnesota Twins organization. The Cape Coral resident played 18 years as an outfielder in the major leagues and is ninth on the all-time list among Major Leaguers in pinch-hits (100).
Bennese will return for his 12th season as the Miracle trainer. The Penn State University graduate is a five-time recipient of the Florida State League Trainer of the Year.
The entire staff returns from 2009, with the exception of Smith.
Smith was named the 2009 Florida State League Manager of the Year after leading the Miracle (80-58 overall) to the first and second half South Division titles. The topper to the season was the second straight appearance in the Florida State League Playoffs and third in four years. Smith departs with a 157-117 mark in two years as skipper.
"I want to thank the staff and fans for a great time these last two years. My family and I have enjoyed every moment of it and I will miss the first class operation here in Fort Myers," said Smith.
The Fort Myers Miracle will open the 2010 season on April 8th.
"We have been very fortunate to have Jeff and his family with us the last two years. What he has done on the field is unquestioned, but he has also been extremely helpful enhancing the Miracle in Southwest Florida," said Miracle General Manager Steve Gliner. "We wish him the best and are excited to welcome Jake back to the Miracle family."