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Billy McMillon says his careers has been centered around helping baseball players perfect their game, something he believes will continue as he helps lead the next wave of Boston Red Sox players.
McMillon, 47, was formally announced on Wednesday as the 17th manager of the Pawtucket Red Sox, the Triple-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox.
He takes over for Kevin Boles, who was manager from 2014 through the end of the 2018 season.
McMillon previously served as manager for Red Sox affiliates Low-A Greenville, High-A Salem and Double-A Portland. He was the Eastern League Manager of the Year in 2014.
“As I look back over my career, it’s always been geared toward helping players get better and I don’t see that changing much here. It’s just that they’re going to be a little closer to the big league team,” McMillon said.
For the past three seasons, McMillon has served as organization’s Minor League Outfield and Baserunning Coordinator.
“We couldn’t be more excited to have Billy come in this role and really be the lynchpin for finishing the development off of our team prospects that are going to help us in Boston in 2019 and beyond,” said Ben Crockett, the Boston Red Sox vice president of player development.
This season marks 50 years together for the Boston Red Sox and Pawtucket Red Sox.
The Red Sox used 44 players in 2018 season, 35 of whom played in Pawtucket at some point during their career, the team said.
McMillon was born in Otero, New Mexico, and now lives in Columbia, South Carolina, with his wife, Krista, and children, 17-year-old Kennedy and 14-year-old Jackson.
The team gave McMillon a PawSox jersey marked No. 51, which McMillon said was the sum of his children’s birthdays. His daughter was born on 6/24 and his son on 3/18, McMillon said.
“It kind of means a little something to me,” he said.
McMillon has a bachelor’s degree from Clemson University and an MBA from the University of Phoenix. During his three year career at Clemson, he had the highest career batting average (.382) of any former Tiger.
He was selected by the Florida Marlins in the eighth round of the 1993 June draft.
In his 12-year playing career, including six seasons as a major league outfielder, McMillon appeared on the diamond for the Marlins, Philadelphia Phillies, Detroit Tigers and Oakland Athletics.
This season’s home opener is Thursday, April 11 against Syracuse Mets, including outfielder Tim Tebow.
In two years, the team will be starting its first season in Worcester.
McMillon said he has never been to Worcester and was not focused on the forthcoming move.
“I’m more developing players…I’ve never been there. I’ve seen signs for it,” McMillon said. “The focus is Pawtucket, 2019, right now.”
As a part of an 18-acre, $240 million redevelopment project that will transform Worcester’s Canal District, the Pawtucket Red Sox franchise is relocating to Massachusetts to become the Worcester Red Sox.
The team will play in a 10,000-seat stadium, to be called Polar Park.
Along with the stadium will come a development project, to include 150-room hotel; a 100-room boutique hotel overlooking the ballpark; at least 225 market rate apartments; and 65,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space.
Construction is slated to begin in July.
Additionally, MassDOT is overseeing a complete reconstruction of the notorious Kelley Square intersection.
’Peanut’ design for Kelley Square intersection in Worcester is best option, bike advocates say as MassDOT plans January meeting
WalkBike Worcester says the “peanut” plan to reconstruct Kelley Square is likely the best option for the intersection.
McMillon said he was excited to work with PawSox hitting coach Rich Gedman, who is a Worcester native.
“He has a way of interacting with the players,” McMillon said. “His experience on the field, it’s second to none.”