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Backman returns for second season with Las Vegas 51s

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Updated: 1/08 12:18 pm
LAS VEGAS — Wally Backman will return as manager for the Las Vegas 51s, the Triple-A affiliate of the New York Mets.

Backman, 54, who will begin his second season as manager of Las Vegas, is the 22nd manager in the 32-year history of the Las Vegas franchise.

Frank Viola will begin his first season as 51s pitching coach and George Greer will return for his third season (second season with the 51s) as hitting coach. Joe Golia will also return for his fourth season as athletic trainer for the Triple-A Mets (second season with the 51s), and Dustin Clarke will return for his fourth season as strength coach in the Mets organization and his first season with Triple-A Las Vegas.

In his inaugural season at Triple-A Las Vegas, Backman led the 51s to the second-best record in the 16-team PCL with an 81-63 (.562) mark and were the 2013 Pacific Southern Division Champions. The Las Vegas franchise recorded 80 or more wins in a season for the fourth time in its history, and he also led the 51s to the PCL Playoffs for the first time in 11 seasons (since 2002). Las Vegas lost to Salt Lake three-games-to-one in the Conference Championship Series.

“I’m excited to return to Las Vegas for my second season,” Backman said. “I’m also excited about the fact that we will have a solid team to start the season and our pitching has the potential to be better than last season. Our players did a good job getting a grip on it quickly in regards to adjusting to the PCL and knowing what the main goal is while playing in Las Vegas.”

He has compiled a 11-year minor league managerial record of 682-627 (.521) in the Chicago White Sox, Arizona and New York Mets organizations from 2001-04 and 2010-13 and three seasons in the Independent League (2007-09).

Backman began his professional career in 1977 when selected by the New York Mets in the first round (16th overall pick) of the Major League Baseball Draft. He played 14 seasons in the Major Leagues as an infielder with the New York Mets (1980-88), Minnesota (1989), Pittsburgh (1990), Philadelphia (1991-92) and Seattle (1993). He was a member of the 1986 Mets World Series championship team and hit a career-high .320 (124-for-387) during the season.

— From news release
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