February 7, 2023 – The West Virginia Black Bears are proud to announce David Carpenter has been appointed manager of the Black Bears for the 2023 MLB Draft League season. The West Virginia University alum and former Major League pitcher joins the organization as the sixth manager in Black Bears history.
Carpenter will lead the reigning MLB Draft League champions starting on June 1 as West Virginia begins the season at Eastwood Field against the Mahoning Valley Scrappers. Opening Day at Monongalia County Ballpark is Tuesday, June 6, with the Bears hosting the Williamsport Crosscutters. The remaining Black Bears coaching staff will be announced closer to the season.
“We’re excited to have Carpenter as our new manager. Being able to continue the tradition of having a West Virginia native as manager is a great experience for our organization and our fans,” said General Manager Leighann Sainato. “Carp had a long professional career, and he played for WVU, so he understands the culture of Morgantown. I know he’ll bring a lot of experience and knowledge to our young squad this season.”
“This means the world, especially getting to be around people who supported me growing up, from the time I was in little league,” Carpenter said. “Getting to have that type of support and being in my home state, it’s really important to me.”
Carpenter, 37, spent fourteen years playing professionally after being drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 12th round of the 2006 MLB Draft. The former WVU catcher made his transition to pitcher after two seasons with the Cardinals, eventually pitching in over 200 games between 2011-2019. He made his big league debut in 2011 for the Houston Astros and finished his rookie year with a 1-3 win-loss record and a 2.93 ERA. Over the course of his career, Carpenter took the mound for the Astros, Toronto Blue Jays, Atlanta Braves, New York Yankees, and Washington Nationals. Since 2021, he has been the pitching coach for Fairmont State University, an NCAA Division-II team located in his hometown of Fairmont, W.Va.
“There is nothing more exciting than being around people from this state. There’s a different passion we grew up with. I’m really looking forward to people coming to the ballpark and enjoying their experience and getting to provide a good atmosphere not only for the players but the fanbase," said Carpenter.
The Fairmont-native takes the helm from fellow WVU graduate, Jedd Gyorko, who led the Black Bears to two winning seasons and captured the MLB Draft League Championship title in 2022. Gyorko finished his two years as the Black Bears manager with a 78-49-6 overall record.
“We’ll always appreciate Jedd and what he brought to this team. He is a great coach and motivator,” said Sainato. “This is a new chapter of Black Bears baseball, and we’re looking forward to having Carp in the dugout this season.”
“[Jedd] set the bar pretty high,” Carpenter said. “Hopefully, I can uphold that standard and work to improve in a few areas to try to have a good, positive impact on the guys that are coming in.”
The West Virginia Black Bears begin their season at home in a championship rematch against the Williamsport Crosscutters on Tuesday, June 6.