Corey Wimberly is the 15th manager of the Sea Dogs. Photo courtesy Portland Sea Dogs

Should any of his players wonder, new Portland Sea Dogs Manager Corey Wimberly knows all about the grind of minor league baseball.

For Wimberley, it began as a 21-year-old in Casper, Wyoming, in the summer of 2005.

He did not stop playing until January of 2017, finishing his career in Obregon in northwest Mexico.

A total of 1,138 games, and not one played in the major leagues.

“I always felt like I was good enough, felt like I was right there,” he said. “I had some really good years; felt like I was really close.

“The love of the game kept me going.”

That love had Wimberly jump into coaching only months after he was done playing. Four years later, Wimberly is already a Double-A manager, becoming the 15th manager in Sea Dogs history. Wimberly, 37, replaces Joe Oliver, who was part of the Red Sox downsizing when the minor leagues contracted teams.

Oliver managed Portland in 2019 and was supposed to do so again in 2020 before the season was canceled because of the pandemic. Likewise, Wimberly was supposed to manage a second season in Salem, Virginia.

Wimberly has moved quickly through the minor leagues as a coach and manager. The Red Sox hired him in 2017 as an assistant coach in Class A Greenville. He became manager of Boston’s rookie, short-season team in 2018, and jumped to Salem in 2019, when he directed the team to the Carolina League playoffs.

“He is a great person and leader,” said Brian Abraham, Boston’s newly-named Director of Player Development, replacing the promoted Ben Crockett (now vice president/baseball operations).

“Corey has a strong understanding of the game in various areas. He preaches fundamentals, but also has an understanding of the progressive thoughts and ideas that continue to push the sport and our group forward.”

Wimberly will not be the only new face at Hadlock Field. Lance Carter will be the pitching coach, and Lance Zawadzki the hitting coach. Ako Thomas, who graduated from the University of Michigan in 2019, will be the assistant coach.

Both Carter and Zawadzki were named to the 2020 Sea Dogs staff but never got out of Florida.

Following the 2020 non-season, Major League Baseball took over the minors and eliminated more than 40 teams, including the Lowell Spinners in the Red Sox system. Boston’s two Class A teams switched levels, which Greenville becoming advanced Class A and Salem moving down to low Class A.

Iggy Suarez, the former Sea Dogs shortstop, will remain in Greenville for a fourth season as manager.

Luke Montz, a former assistant coach with the Sea Dogs, was named manager in Salem.

The Triple-A team, which has moved from Pawtucket, R.I., to Worcester, Massachusetts, will keep the same coaching staff – all formerly of the Sea Dogs – Manager Billy McMillon, pitching coach Paul Abbott and hitting coach Rich Gedman.

Wimberly, a native of Jacksonville, Florida, and a current Atlanta resident, was a sixth-round draft pick by the Colorado Rockies in 2005 out of Alcorn State. A second baseman who morphed into a utility player, Wimberly played for seven organizations, reaching Triple-A with four of them, but not the majors.

“I never thought about not getting there. It was not an option. But that day just never came,” he said.

“I was grinding and so close. Just ran out of gas. I think I gave it my all.”

Wimberly endured five surgeries, including Tommy John. He ended his playing days with two seasons in Mexico, along with extended play in the Mexican Pacific Winter League. He finished with a career .294 batting average and a .791 OPS.

Coaching seemed a natural move for Wimberly.

“I love the fact of impacting players lives, and getting to know people,” he said.

Because of the pandemic, Wimberly is not sure when he will report to spring training, let alone when the season will begin.

“No one knows,” he said.


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