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TinCaps name manager

Michael Collins is new field boss

The San Diego Padres promoted from within Tuesday as they named Michael Collins manager of the TinCaps.

Collins, who is entering his third season as a manager in the Padres organization, replaces Jose Valentín.

Pitching coach Burt Hooton, hitting coach Morgan Burkhart, and athletic trainer Ricky Huerta return. Dan Byrne is the new strength and conditioning coach.

Collins, 29, is a native of Canberra, Australia, and last year managed the Padres rookie-level affiliate in the Arizona League. He led San Diego’s Dominican Summer League affiliate in 2012.

Collins began his 10-year Minor League Baseball career in 2001 as a 16-year-old in the Angels system, making his debut with the franchise’s Arizona League club. Collins moved up to the Midwest League in 2004, playing for the Cedar Rapids Kernels. In 2005, again with Cedar Rapids, he finished third in the league with a .320 batting average.

Collins, a catcher, signed with San Diego in 2009 after eight years with the Angels. He played for San Diego’s Triple-A, Double-A, Advanced-A, and Arizona League teams in 2010.

For the past two winters, Collins has been the manager of the Canberra Cavalry of the Australian Baseball League. There Canberra won the Claxton Shield, the championship trophy of the ABL. Collins also played for the Cavalry from 2010-2012, and during the 2010-2011 season he hit .360 and was the ABL’s batting champion.

Hooton, 63, returns for his second season with the TinCaps. Last year he oversaw a young staff that at times featured as many as five first-round draft selections on the roster.

Under Hooton’s tutelage, Fort Wayne had a pitcher lead the league in earned run average for just the second time in franchise history. Zach Eflin’s 2.73 ERA was best in the league.

Burkhart also returns for a second season with the TinCaps. The former major leaguer, who played with both the Red Sox and Royals, helped guide the TinCaps to a .261 team batting average in 2013, the fourth-best mark in the Midwest League.

Huerta, 27, begins his fifth season in the Padres organization. The Los Angeles native will work with the TinCaps for a second straight season after having worked previously with the rookie-level Arizona League Padres.

Byrne enters his first season with Fort Wayne. He replaces Pat Trainor, who has been assigned to San Diego’s Advanced-A Affiliate, the Lake Elsinore Storm, as the strength and conditioning coach.

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