Hitting coach William "Skeeter" Barnes will be back in Battle Creek, after having served in the same role in 2005. Last year, Barnes led the Devil Rays to the 2nd-highest batting average (.271) in the Midwest League. Three pf Barnes' position players were selected to the Midwest League All-Star Team.
This will be Barnes' fourth season as a coach in the Rays' organization. He coached the Orlando Rays (Double A-Southern League) in 2003 and the Montgomery Biscuits (Double A-Southern League) in 2004.
Previously, Barnes worked in the Milwaukee Brewers' system, serving as the hitting coach for Indianapolis (Triple A-International League) In 2000, he managed the Lakeland Tigers (A-Advanced, Florida State League) to a 52-88 record. Barnes also coached in the Detroit Tigers' organization with West Michigan (A-Midwest League) in 1997-98 and Toledo (Triple A-International League) in 1995, 1996 and 1999.
Originally drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in 1978, Barnes played professionally for 17 years, including nine seasons in the major leagues. He started at all positions except pitcher and catcher in his 353-game career, owning a .253 batting average with four organizations: Cincinnati (1983-84, 1989), Montreal (1985), St. Louis (1987) and Detroit (1991-94). The 48-year-old Cincinnati native now resides in Indianapolis with his wife, Karen, and daughter, Chrissy.