President Mark O’Neal of the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (PBATS) recently announced at the Major League Baseball Winter Meetings the Houston Astros athletic training staff as the winners of the Major League Athletic Training Staff of the Year for the 2015 baseball season.
This award is given annually to one Major League Athletic Training Staff and is voted on by the full PBATS membership.
The Astros athletic training staff in 2015 included head athletic trainer Nate Lucero, assistant athletic trainers Rex Jones and James Ready. The three members accepted their award in Nashville this past week in front of the full PBATS membership.
About the 2015 winners PBATS President Mark O’Neal said, “Nate, Rex and James are so very deserving of this year’s award. Nate and Rex have been extremely valued members of PBATS for a number of years. When they brought James on staff last year we all knew they’d have one of the best groups in the league. We’re all very proud of the Astro’s staff and their ability to keep their players healthy and allow them to make a great run into the 2015 MLB playoffs. We wish Nate the best in Los Angeles with the Dodgers and Rex the best of luck in his future endeavors outside of baseball.”
Nate Lucero, who will be moving on to the Los Angeles Dodgers organization in 2016, had spent his entire career in the Houston Astros organization. He began his career in baseball in 1993 at the rookie level with the GCL Astros. He also spent 1994 at the same level. Nate was then promoted to the Midwest League in 1995, where he spent three seasons in Davenport, Iowa with the Quad City River Bandits. Following his stint in the MWL, Lucero was sent to Florida with the Kissimmee Cobras of the FSL. After one year in Florida, Lucero was promoted to the Jackson Generals of the Texas League.
Lucero was also the recipient of the Texas League Athletic Trainer of the Year award that year in 2000 with the Round Rock Express. In 2002 Lucero was named the Strength & Conditioning Coordinator for the Astros organization, a position that was held until 2007, when he became the Strength & Conditioning assistant at the Major League Level. Lucero is a certified member of the NATA and a licensed athletic trainer in the state of Texas. Nathan and his wife Janet live in Manvel, Texas with their two daughters Isabella Feliz, and Sophia Rose.
Long-time assistant athletic trainer and former PBATS board member Rex Jones, who announced his retirement at this year’s winter meetings, had spent his entire athletic training career in the Astros organization. He received the call to the Major League in 1994 after spending 16 years in the Astros’ Minor League system, including five years as the organization’s director of Minor League athletic trainers. Jones started his pro baseball career in 1978 with the Class-A Daytona Beach club while still earning a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Missouri State. Jones was the head athletic trainer for the Class AA Columbus Astros from 1979 to 1983 before being promoted to Class AAA Tucson Toros in 1983. The Lockwood, Mo., native is a certified member of NATA, the Southwest Athletic Trainers Society, and the Greater Houston Athletic Trainers Society and is a licensed athletic trainer in the state of Texas. He and his wife, Annette, live in Manvel, Texas with their children Megan, Jeremiah, and Laura.
Joining Lucero and Jones on the staff was James Ready, who joined the Astros as an assistant athletic trainer in 2015. He spent the last three seasons as the Minor League Athletic Training and Rehabilitation Coordinator with the Philadelphia Phillies, where he was responsible for overseeing all minor league athletic trainers and rehabilitation of minor league players. He also assisted in Major League rehabilitation efforts. Before that, James spent five seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Ready was also an athletic trainer for the 2007 Arizona Fall League Champions the Phoenix Desert Dogs. He received a Master’s degree from Louisiana State University while working as a graduate assistant with the track and field team, as well as the football team. He is originally from Martin, SD and currently resides in Pearland, TX with his wife Nathalie.