Farm director Lukevics receives big honor
Rays farm director Mitch Lukevics was named recipient of Minor League Baseball’s Chief Bender Award, presented annually for distinguished service instrumental in player development.
Lukevics, 58, joined the Rays in Nov. 1995, and assumed his present duties in 2006. He began his baseball career as a minor-league pitcher in the White Sox organization - a second-round pick in 1975 out of Penn State - then became a coach and administrator, and also worked for the Yankees.
“Chief Bender set the standard on how to develop young players and was admired and respected by all of us in the industry,” Lukevics said in a statement. “To receive an award bearing his name is truly an honor. This wouldn’t be possible if not for the support I receive from the Rays organization and the tremendous people that I am fortunate to work with.”
The Bender award was first presented in 2008.
“Mitch Lukevics has played an integral role in developing players that have contributed to the recent successes of the Tampa Bay Rays,” Minor League Baseball President Pat O’Conner said in a statement. “His relationships with Rays' affiliates, knowledge of the rules and concern for his players and staff remind me so much of Chief and the legacy this award honors. Mitch's efforts have been invaluable for the Rays, who compete in one of the toughest divisions in baseball, the American League East.”
Lukevics will be honored at a Dec. 6 banquet during the winter meetings.