The Buffalo Bisons, once again affiliated with the Mets, have appointed Ken Oberkfell as their manager for the 2009 season. As expected, Oberkfell returns to the role -- manager of the Mets' Triple-A affiliate -- he had filled for 3 1/2 seasons before joining the Mets as the first-base coach in June.
A veteran of 16 big league seasons with the Cardinals, Braves, Astros, Pirates and Angels, Oberkfell has been a Minor League manager since 1997. He managed the Mets' Norfolk Tides team in 2005 and '06 and the New Orleans Zephyrs in '07 and last year until he was promoted and joined Jerry Manuel's staff.
He is the 15th manager in what the Bisons identify as the franchise's modern era. Buffalo was the Mets' Triple A affiliate from 1963-65.
Oberkfell's staff is to include former Brewers, Royals and Marlins pitcher Ricky Bones as pitching coach and Luis Natera as hitting coach. Each worked with the Mets' Double A Binghamton affiliate last season. Natera is entering his 18th season in the Mets' organization and his first as the hitting coach for the Triple-A team. He was originally signed by the Mets as a non-drafted free agent in 1984 and spent five seasons as an infielder in the organization.
Oberkfell, 52, has a .503 winning percentage in 1,615 games as a manager. His teams have played in the postseason in four of his last five full seasons.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.