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December 19, 2014

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las vegas 51s:

Wally Backman will return as 51s manager; Frank Viola announced as pitching coach

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Las Vegas 51’s manager Wally Backman holds a runner at second during their game against the Tacoma Rainiers Thursday, April 25, 2013.

Howard Johnson and Wally Backman

Former Mets teammates Las Vegas 51's manager Wally Backman, left, and Tacoma Rainiers hitting coach Howard Johnson talk before their game Thursday, April 25, 2013. Launch slideshow »

The New York Mets announced today that Wally Backman would return as the manager of their Triple-A team in Las Vegas.

Last season, Backman guided the Las Vegas 51s to the Pacific Coast League’s Southern Division title with an 81-63 record. The record was the second-best in the 16-team PCL and just the fourth time in the Las Vegas franchise’s 31-year history it has won 80 or more games.

Backman also managed the Mets' Triple-A affiliate in Buffalo, N.Y., during 2012 before they became affiliated with Las Vegas.

“I’m excited to return to Las Vegas for my second season,” Backman said in a statement. “I’m also excited about the fact that we will have a solid team to start the season and our pitching has the potential to be better than last season (2013). Our players did a good job getting a grip on it quickly in regards to adjusting to the PCL and knowing what the main goal is while playing in Las Vegas.”

Backman played for the Mets from 1980-88 and was the second baseman on their 1986 Wold Series champion team.

Frank Viola, a 20-game winner with the Mets in 1990, was announced today at the 51s’ pitching coach. Viola won 184 big-league games, including 24 in 1988 with the Minnesota Twins.

The team also announced George Greer will be back as the 51s’ hitting coach.

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21.

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