03/20/2018 3:27 PM
CLEBURNE, Texas – The Cleburne Railroaders have announced that pitching coach Ed ‘Smoke’ Pruitt will return to the club’s coaching staff in 2018.
Pruitt returns for his second season with the Railroaders after leading the staff to a 3.96 team ERA – the fourth-best mark in the American Association – in the club’s inaugural season last year.
“I’m looking forward to coming back in 2018,” Pruitt said. “There will be a few changes this year, but it should be a more solid and competitive staff than what we had last year.”
The Railroaders were 17-7 in one-run games last year thanks largely to a stout bullpen that featured Cortland Cox – now in the Los Angeles Angels minor league system – and veteran reliever Winston Abreu, who led the league with 25 saves a year ago.
Cleburne’s rotation showcased American Association all-star Patrick Mincey – playing for his sixth club in the league – who finished 10-8 with a 3.33 ERA over 135.0 innings in his first year as a full-time starter.
Pruitt pitched in parts of six seasons with the New York Mets organization after he was drafted in the 19th round of the 1982 MLB Draft. He reached Double-A Jackson in three separate seasons and his best came in 1985, when he posted a 2.12 ERA over 52 appearances with Jackson.
“For the time that I played for the Mets organization, I was tutored some great coaches such as Glenn Abbott, John Cumberland, Sam Perlozzo and Mike Cubbage,” Pruitt said. “That allows me to work with the pitchers in today’s market and teach them the old school way of pitching.”
The Railroaders open their second season with a three-game series against the two-time defending champion Winnipeg Goldeyes May 18 at The Depot. Season, half-season and 10-game flex tickets are on sale now, and single-game tickets will go on sale April 1.
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