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What you need to know for 02/22/2017

Former All-Star Ensberg new V'Cats manager

Former All-Star Ensberg new V'Cats manager

Former All-Star Ensberg new V'Cats manager
Morgan Ensberg, the new ValleyCats manager, was an All-Star in 2005 with the Houston Astros.

Morgan Ensberg retired from major league baseball as a New York Yankee, but he spent almost all of his playing career in the Houston Astros organization.

He’ll return to New York this summer — as an Astro.

Ensberg was hired by the team on Tuesday to serve as manager of the Tri-City ValleyCats of the New York-Penn League, taking over for Lamarr Rogers.

Ensberg returns to the Astros organization for his sixth season, and first as a manager.

Last year, he was heavily involved in Houston’s player development. He joined the professional coaching ranks in 2013 as infield coach at former Class-A Advanced Lancaster, where he helped lead the club to an 82-58 record and both the first and second half South Division titles in the California League.

Along with Ensberg, the Astros hired Bill Murphy, coming off one season with Rookie-level Greeneville, to be the ValleyCats’ pitching coach. In his first year in the Astros organization, Jeremy Barnes will serve as hitting coach, and Daniel Cerquera joins the ‘Cats as athletic trainer.

The former third baseman Ensberg played eight seasons in the majors, including his first seven seasons with the Astros (2000, 2002-07) and a short stint with the San Diego Padres before playing 28 games with the Yankees in his final season, 2008, during which he batted .203.

His best season came in 2005, where he was an All-Star and Silver Slugger, and finished fourth in the National League MVP voting after hitting .283 with 30 doubles, 36 homers and 101 RBIs.

Following his playing career, Ensberg returned to the University of Southern California in 2010 to finish his degree in finance while also serving as an undergraduate assistant coach for the school’s baseball team. He won a national championship with the Trojans in 1998.

During his three-year playing career at USC, he hit .331 with 40 home runs and 149 RBIs and is the only Trojan to have a 20-homer, 20-stolen base season.

Ensberg was among six Astros minor leaguers who were the victims of an armed holdup at their hotel in Kissimmee, Fla. in 2000 during spring training. They were able to escape as police arrived. One robber was apprehended by police while trying to escape and the other was tackled and held by Ensberg’s teammate, Aaron Miles.

Murphy is set to join the Astros for his second season as pitching coach, and first with Tri-City. Before his season with Rookie-level Greeneville last year, Murphy was the pitching coach at Brown University following a stint as co-manager and pitching coach for the Northwoods Collegiate League Battle Creek Bombers.

The ValleyCats’ home opener is set for Wednesday, June 21. The 2017 New York-Penn League All-Star Game will take place at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium on Tuesday, Aug. 15. 

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