FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — The Fayetteville Woodpeckers will return to the diamond after a canceled 2020 season due to the pandemic, but with a new skipper.
Ray Hernandez will take over as the Woodpeckers manager as the team prepares to open its season on May 11.
Hernandez replaces Nate Shaver as the club’s manager. Shaver is taking over the same role he held in Fayetteville for the Class-A Advanced Asheville Tourists.
Hernandez was the manager in 2019 for the Quad Cities River Bandits, the former Class-A affiliate of the Houston Astros. The River Bandits are now an affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. Hernandez led the club to a 79-57 record in his first managerial assignment with the Astros.
Hernandez has been in the Houston coaching system for four years, first working as a development coach with the Fresno Grizzlies in 2018 before joining Quad Cities. A 48th-round draft pick of the Diamondbacks in 2011, Hernandez pitched in the Arizona farm system for three seasons.
Joining Hernandez on the staff is pitching coach Todd Naskedov, hitting coach Sean Godfrey, and development coach Bryan Muniz.
Naskedov joins the Fayetteville staff after previously serving as the Astros’ rehabilitation coach for three years. Godfrey served as the hitting coach in 2019 with the Tri-City Valleycats, the former short-season affiliate of the Astros, and was named the hitting coach for the River Bandits in 2020 before the COVID-19 shutdown.
Godfrey is a Ball State graduate and was the player of the year in the Mid-American Conference in 2014 before being selected by the Atlanta Braves in the 22nd-round of that year’s draft. Muniz will make his Astros coaching debut in 2021.
The Hialeah, Florida native spent four years as a first baseman in the Astros minor-league system. He was a 22nd-round draft pick of the Astros in 2014 out of Southeastern University.
Muniz and Godfrey were selected 27 picks apart in the same round of the same draft.
In addition, Takeaki Ando was named the club’s athletic trainer and Michael Hoffman will be the strength coach.
The Woodpeckers, Class-A affiliate of the Houston Astros will open its season on May 4. Their first home contest will take place May 11.