Greenville, SC – The Greenville Drive are quickly gearing up for another terrific season of baseball at Fluor Field at the West End, and the 2016 campaign will commence with the Drive’s annual Hot Stove Event on Tuesday, January 26th. Headlining the evening will be new Boston Red Sox General Manager Mike Hazen and current Drive Manager Darren Fenster.
The Hot Stove Event will begin at 5:30 PM at the ONE Building in Downtown Greenville located at North Main Street between Washington Street and Coffee Street. The complimentary event will take place on the fifth floor of the ONE Building in Clemson University’s space, and food and beverage will be available throughout the evening, including some new items to be featured at Fluor Field this season. Fans will be able to interact with Hazen and Fenster before the speaking portion of the event.
The ONE Building is one of Greenville’s newest mixed-use developments, located in the heart of the downtown area with beautiful views of the city and a recently renovated plaza. It is an LEED Gold construction and is the tallest building in the state of South Carolina with that distinction.
The Drive are excited to launch the second decade of baseball in Downtown Greenville, and as part of the occasion, the team will have Owner/Team President Craig Brown and General Manager Eric Jarinko making some very special announcements regarding Fluor Field that fans won’t want to miss.
In addition, Hazen will discuss the state of the Red Sox organization as a whole, and Fenster will preview what Drive fans can expect to see on the field in 2016.
The 2016 season will be Hazen’s first in the role of general manager, but he is no stranger to Boston, having joined the organization in 2006. He held the title of Senior Vice President/Assistant General Manager last year and assisted previous general manager Ben Cherington in major league operations.
Hazen began his Red Sox career as the Director of Player Development, and he oversaw the Red Sox farm system in that role and as Vice President of Player Development and Amateur Scouting through 2011. He was promoted to Vice President/Assistant General Manager in 2012.
With Hazen having joined the Boston organization the same year as the Drive’s inaugural season in Downtown Greenville, he has played an instrumental role in the Drive’s close-knit partnership with the Red Sox.
“Having Mike Hazen in Greenville for our Hot Stove event is a fantastic opportunity,” said Drive Owner/Team President Craig Brown. “His success in his professional career, both in player development and major league operations, will certainly serve him well as the new General Manager of the Red Sox, and his background gives him a unique perspective on the Red Sox organization that our fans will enjoy.”
The 40-year old Hazen began his career in professional baseball as a player in 1998 following a standout career at Princeton. He spent two seasons as an outfielder in the San Diego Padres organization and joined the front office of the Cleveland Indians following his playing career. He ascended to the role of Assistant Director of Player Development with Cleveland prior to joining the Red Sox.
Fenster will once again appear at the Hot Stove Event as he prepares for his third season as Manager of the Drive. In 2015, he piloted the club to a 72-68 record, the team’s highest win total since 2011, and a second place finish in both halves of the season.
“We are thrilled about having Darren back in Greenville both for our Hot Stove Event and for the 2016 season,” noted Brown. “His passion for teaching young players is unmatched, and he did a tremendous job last year working with noted prospects including Yoan Moncada, Rafael Devers, Andrew Benintendi and many more. He will provide an inside look into what Drive fans can expect at Fluor Field this year.”
The 37-year old Fenster began his professional career with the Drive as hitting coach in 2012 before moving to managing with the Gulf Coast League Red Sox in 2013. In his first three seasons as manager, Fenster has logged a pair of winning seasons, including a runner-up finish in the Gulf Coast League in his first year as a manager.
Before joining the Red Sox, Fenster spent six seasons on the staff of his alma mater, Rutgers University, as the Director of Baseball Operations and Assistant Coach. One of the top players in Scarlet Knights history, he was a two-time All-American and the Big East Player of the Year in 2000. A former shortstop, he set school records in several offensive categories that still stand today, including career hits (315), single-season hits (101), and doubles (65).
Drafted in the 12th round by Kansas City Royals following his All-American season in 2000, Fenster advanced to the Double-A level in the Royals system and was a Carolina League All-Star in both 2002 and 2004. Following a breakout season in 2004 where he hit a career-best .302 between Class-A Wilmington and Class-AA Wichita, Fenster was a non-roster invitee to the Royals major league Spring Training camp in 2005.
“Our annual Hot Stove Event is an exciting time for the Drive organization, as it signals baseball being just around the corner, and we’re grateful for the ONE Building for accommodating this great event,” said Jarinko. “It allows us to interact with our fanbase on a very personal level as we share what to expect in the coming year. We’re excited that Mike and Darren have taken the time to join us in Greenville as they get ready for an impactful season for both the Boston Red Sox and Greenville Drive in 2016.”
Ticket plans, group outings, and hospitality accommodations are currently on sale for the 2016 season. Call (864) 240-4500 to speak with a representative or log onto to www.GreenvilleDrive.com for more information.