Mariano Duncan bench coach for Ed Blankmeyer with Cyclones

NEW YORK (AP) — Former big leaguer Mariano Duncan will be bench coach for the New York Mets’ Class A Brooklyn Cyclones under new manager Ed Blankmeyer.

Blankmeyer left St. John’s in January 2020 after 24 seasons as coach to become manager of the Cyclones, but the 2020 minor league season was canceled due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Blankmeyer wound up leading the Mets’ alternate training site in Brooklyn, where players stayed in shape as they awaited callups.

The Cyclones were promoted to the full-season High A North League from the short-season New York-Penn League as part of Major League Baseball’s takeover and reorganization of the minor leagues.

Duncan, who turns 58 on March 13, played in the major leagues from 1985-97. He is in his third season with the Mets and was bench coach at Kingsport of the Appalachian League.

Royce Ring will be pitching coach, the Cyclones said Thursday. The 40-year-old has worked in the Mets’ system since 2014 and was with the Cyclones from 2017-18. He spent 2019 at Class A Columbia, South Carolina, and was to have worked at Class A St. Lucie last year.

Nic Jackson, 41, will be hitting coach after working as a Chicago Cubs pro scout from 2017-20. Vanessa Weisbach will be athletic trainer, and Ryan Orr performance coach.

Blankmeyer replaced former Mets star Edgardo Alfonzo, who was fired after three seasons despite leading the Cyclones to the 2019 league championship.

Blankmeyer, 66, led St. John’s to a 829-500 record with four ties, including a Big East- record 347 conference wins. He had winning records in 23 of 24 seasons, won six regular-season conference titles and five Big East tournaments. His teams appeared in the NCAA tournament 11 times, including a Super Regional appearance in 2012.

While he was an assistant coach at Seton Hall, his players included Hall of Famer Craig Biggio, 1995 AL MVP Mo Vaughn, Matt Morris and John Valentin.

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