FORT WAYNE – The TinCaps will be managed this season by Michael Collins, a 29-year-old former catcher, who is in his third season coaching in the San Diego Padres’ organization.
The hiring was announced Tuesday by both the Padres and the TinCaps, who are San Diego’s Single-A affiliate in the Midwest League.
Jose Valentin, who managed the TinCaps the last two seasons, was elevated Nov. 19 to first base coach of the Padres. Valentin was 149-144, accumulating the third-most victories in the 21-year history of the TinCaps/Wizards, behind only Doug Dascenzo and Randy Ready.
Valentin took the TinCaps to two playoff appearances; they lost in the Midwest League’s championship series in 2012.
Collins is a native of Canberra, Australia, who played in the minor leagues from 2001 to 2010 for affiliates of the Los Angeles Angels and the Padres.
He played in the Midwest League in 2004 and 2005 for Cedar Rapids and reached the Triple-A level with Portland in 2009 and 2010.
Collins, who is in Australia, couldn’t be reached for comment.
Collins coached the Padres’ Dominican Summer League affiliate in 2012 and the Padres’ rookie-level affiliate in the Arizona League last year.
He has also managed two seasons in the Australian Baseball League for the Canberra Cavalry, winning a championship.
He’s a laid-back guy but also a fiery guy, said Josh VanMeter, who is from Ossian and was a rookie shortstop under Collins in the Arizona League last summer. If something doesn’t go the way he likes it, you’ll see him get fired up. But overall, he’s a calm and collected guy.
He’s a young guy. We had a lot of high-schoolers, and he made the transition for a lot of us pretty easy. He relates to a lot of young players. He was in the minors for a long time. He gets it.
He made it comfortable for not only me but the other high school guys. He’s a great guy and an even better manager.
The TinCaps also announced Tuesday that pitching coach Burt Hooton, hitting coach Morgan Burkhart and athletic trainer Ricky Huerta will all return. Dan Byrne is the new strength and conditioning coach.