Fresh off a playoff campaign last year, Joe Oliver is back as the manager of the Salem Red Sox in 2017.
Boston Red Sox Vice President of Player Development Ben Crockett announced the coaching staff for the entire Red Sox organization system last week. Oliver will be joined by veterans of the staff in Salem with pitching coach Paul Abbott, hitting coach Nelson “Pepe” Paulino, and head athletic trainer Nick Kuchwara.
Oliver enters his fourth year on a professional coaching staff, all with the Red Sox organization. The former catcher was a member of the 1990 World Series champion Cincinnati Reds club, and finished his 13-year Major League Baseball playing career with Boston in 2001. Oliver began his managerial path with the short-season Lowell Spinners over the 2014 and 2015 seasons before taking the helm in Salem before the 2016 season. He led the Red Sox to a Carolina League-best 87-53 record and a playoff berth in 2016. Oliver makes his offseason home in Orlando, Florida, where he coached baseball at Pine Castle Christian Academy, Bishop Moore Catholic High School and Boone High School between 2002 and 2013.
Abbott enters his third season as Salem’s pitching coach and his seventh coaching season in the Boston organization. Over his first two seasons as Salem’s pitching coach, the Red Sox posted a combined ERA of 3.89, down from 4.09 in 2014. Abbott played 20 seasons of professional baseball, with 11 MLB seasons between six different organizations. He notched 17 wins as a Seattle Mariner in 2001. Abbott started his coaching career with the Orange County Flyers of the independent Golden League in 2009 as their pitching coach, serving as their manager in 2010. He joined the Red Sox organization in 2011 as pitching coach for the Spinners, and was moved up to the Intermediate-A Greenville Drive before the 2013 season.
Paulino enters his 20th season as a coach in the Boston system, and his third with the Salem Red Sox (2013 and 2016). “Pepe” was a three-year professional player in the Atlanta Braves system between 1992 and 1994. He returned to Salem in 2016 after two years with the Drive, and the Salem Sox put up an eye-popping 4.99 runs per game (second in the Carolina League) after averaging 4.32 runs per game in the 2014 and 2015 seasons. Previously, Paulino was a mainstay of the Dominican Summer League Red Sox between 1998 and 2011, including four seasons as manager and six years as hitting coach. He moved up to Lowell in 2012 as their hitting coach.
Nick Kuchwara returns as the team’s head athletic trainer in his second season with Salem. He was the trainer for Lowell in 2015 after having previously worked in the same capacity in Portland and Pawtucket. This will be the fourth season in the Boston Red Sox system for the native of San Antonio, Texas.
The Salem Red Sox open 2017 at LewisGale Field on Thursday, April 6 against the Down East Wood Ducks, who make their Carolina League debut. Flex plans and season ticket packages are available at the LewisGale Field box office, by phone at (540) 389-3333, and online at SalemSox.com.
The Carolina League All-Star Game returns to LewisGale Field on Tuesday, June 20. As part of a celebration of 50 years of Carolina League baseball in the Roanoke Valley, the Red Sox will host a skills competition on Monday, June 19. The skills competition will take place at historic Kiwanis Field, the original home of Carolina League baseball in Salem. All 2017 Salem Red Sox season ticket holders will have tickets to the skills competition and the All-Star Classic included in their ticket package. Further Ticket information and details surrounding the events of All-Star Week will be released at a later date.