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Viola named Mets' Triple-A pitching coach

NEW YORK -- The Mets' Triple-A Las Vegas affiliate announced on Wednesday that Frank Viola will join the club as its pitching coach after three seasons in Class A ball. He and returning hitting coach George Greer will work on manager Wally Backman's staff.

The 51s also announced that Joe Golia and Dustin Clarke will return for their fourth seasons as athletic trainer and strength coach, respectively.

Viola, 53, spent the past two seasons as the pitching coach at Class A Savannah, following a year in the same role at Class A Brooklyn. A former American League Cy Young Award winner for the Twins in 1988 and a three-time All-Star, Viola won 20 games for the Mets in '90. He finished his career 176-150 with a 3.73 ERA.

Over the past three years, Viola has tutored such Mets pitching prospects as Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom. In Las Vegas, he should play a significant role in Mets No. 1 prospect Noah Syndergaard's development.

The 51s originally announced in December that Backman would return for another season as the Triple-A manager.

"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. Our players did a good job getting a grip on it quickly in regards to adjusting to the [Pacific Coast League] and knowing what the main goal is while playing in Las Vegas."

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo.
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