Dave Valle and the rest of the Everett AquaSox arrive in town today to begin preparations for the 2014 Northwest League season.
Everett celebrates its 31st season of minor-league baseball this year, including its 20th as a short-season single-A affiliate of the Mariners. And this season the Sox will be managed by a man who has a long history with the M’s.
Valle, who takes over from Rob Mummau as manager this year, has been associated with the Mariners since he was drafted by Seattle in 1978 as a 17-year-old straight out of high school. He spent 10 seasons as a catcher for the Mariners from 1984-93, then after retiring as a player in 1996 he rejoined the organization as part of the broadcast team in 1997, where he’s been ever since. This is Valle’s first managerial job.
Valle takes over a team that will be comprised primarily of two types of players. The first wave, which arrives with Valle today, includes players who spent the past two months at extended spring training at the Mariners’ facility in Peoria, Ariz. That group will be supplemented by college players who were selected in last week’s amateur draft.
The Sox are coming off a season in which they went 44-32, finishing first in the Northwest League’s North Division in both the first and second halves. Everett was eliminated by eventual league champion Vancouver in the first round of the playoffs.
Everett conducts its first practice tonight at Everett Memorial Stadium. The Sox play the 11th annual Everett Cup exhibition game against the Pacific International League’s Everett Merchants on Wednesday. The regular season begins Friday when the Sox host the Hillsboro Hops in the first of a five-game series at Everett Memorial.
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