The Phillies announced this past week that the manager of the short-season Class A level Williamsport Crosscutters will be 36-year-old Nelson Prada. As a catcher, Prada played four seasons in the Minnesota organization from 1995 through 1998.
Prada, a Venezuela native, went on to manage in the minors for the Twins and was skipper in the rookie level Gulf Coast League as well as in the Class A Midwest league over the past eight seasons, compiling a .511 winning percentage over that stretch.
The presence of Prada at the helm of the Cutters gives the Phillies a manager fluent in Spanish at each of the two lowest levels of their developmental ranks in the United States, as Roly deArmas enters his tenth season as manager of the Gulf Coast League Phillies. The pair will help the club's collection of strong young Latin talent, including names like Carlos Tocci, Francisco Herrera and Wilson Garcia, adapt more quickly to baseball and life in America, with a leader they can better identify with.
Elsewhere, former Phillies outfielder Bobby Abreu was a late addition to the Caracas roster in the Venezuelan Winter League, which has begun its semi-final round robin playoffs. In 14 total games, the free agent has gone 9-for-50 (.180 average) with no homers and no runs batted in.
Also in Venezuela, Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis has returned to action for Zulia and has hit safely in each of the team's three round robin games thus far, going 4-for-13 (.308 average) with three RBI. The 23-year-old Galvis, who missed time in 2012 with a back injury and because of a suspension after testing positive for banned substances, sat out the latter portion of the Venezuelan Winter League regular season for undisclosed reasons. He wrapped up the winter league with a .300 average, five home runs and 29 RBI in 58 games.
Lastly, more info from last week...the BlueClaws announced details of the Phillies' winter tour stop in Lakewood. On Wednesday January 23rd, Phils manager Charlie Manuel, infielder Kevin Frandsen, director of player development Joe Jordan and other front office personnel with attend the annual dinner at Woodlake Country Club. Tickets (call Lindsay at 732-901-7000 ext 100) are $40 per person and proceeds benefit BlueClaws charities.