ALTOONA - From the batters box, to the coaches’ box on the first base line - still wearing #28 - Miles Durham has returned to the Altoona Curve. Not as a player, but as a coach.
"You see different things from the dugout [coaching] than you do while you're participating in the game,” says Durham.
The journey for Durham since he left Altoona has been swift. He was promoted to AAA-Indianapolis in 2011, then was sent back to Altoona in 2012. Durham was granted a release from the Pirates that year, so he finished the season with an independent baseball team.
"Since I've been playing professionally, I've wanted to coach,” says Durham. “And I knew the Pirates had talked to me about it. So when I ran out of opportunities to play, I called and we went from there."
Durham spent last season as a coach for the West Virginia Power, the Pirates' Low-A team. And now with the Curve, he's in charge of the outfielders and baserunning.
"Just helping guys to fulfill their dream - their lifelong dream - it's kind of a passion for me now,” says Durham.
The Curve players are on board with Durham. He used to play alongside some of the players on this years’ squad, including infielder Jarek Cunningham.
"I love him. I think he's doing a great job,” says Cunningham. “He's knowledgeable. He's helping me at third because he played third a little bit. I know what he was capable of, so I know that his knowledge is always beneficial for me."
Curve Manager Carlos Garcia chimes in with his praise on how Durham has done in his first month as a coach in Altoona.
"I really feel like he's going to be somebody who's going to be a candidate for being a manager someday,” says Garcia.