Rays announce 2008 Minors coaches
Former third baseman Sandberg to coach at Hudson Valley
ST. PETERSBURG -- Jared Sandberg highlighted Tuesday's announcements by the Rays, who named their Minor League coordinators and coaches for the 2008 season.
Sandberg, 29, was appointed as a coach for Class A Hudson Valley. He will be making his coaching debut after retiring from a 12-year professional playing career. He played parts of three Major League seasons (2001-03), all with the Rays, hitting .221 with 25 home runs and 92 RBIs.
In 2002, Sandberg played in a career-high 102 games and was third on the club with 18 home runs. He was the Rays' 16th-round selection in the 1996 First-Year Player Draft. Sandberg remained in the organization until 2004 and still holds the Rays' all-time Minor League records for home runs (113), RBIs (473) and runs scored (417). Last season, he played 18 games with Double-A Wichita (Royals). He is the nephew of Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg.
Jim Hoff returns to his post as Minor League field coordinator for a seventh straight season, while Jaimie Nelson, who managed Rookie League Princeton the past five seasons, will fill the newly created role of Minor League catching coordinator.
Hitting coordinator Steve Livesey returns to Hoff's staff for a third year, while Dick Bosman and Skeeter Barnes return as the pitching coordinator and outfield/baserunning coordinator. Also returning for their third seasons in their respective roles are: Nick Paparesta, head trainer/rehab coordinator; Chris Tomashoff, assistant athletic training coordinator; and Trung Cao, strength and conditioning coordinator.
Tim McKechney will serve as Minor League equipment manager for a sixth year.
Several other coaches will move into new positions to complete the on-field staffs.
Triple-A Durham, which advanced to the International League finals in 2007, will welcome back their entire coaching staff from 2007. Charlie Montoyo, Baseball America's Triple-A Manager of the Year in 2007, returns to Durham for a second season and his 12th managing in the Rays organization. Pitching coach Xavier Hernandez, whose 2007 staff led the International League with a 3.98 ERA, is back for a second campaign with Durham and his seventh in the Rays system. Coach Gary Gaetti and trainer Mark Vinson both return to the Bulls for a second year.
Double-A Montgomery, the Southern League's defending champions, will bring back manager Billy Gardner Jr. for a second season. Ben Oglivie will step in as a coach after serving in the same capacity for Class A Vero Beach in 2007. Second-year pitching coach Neil Allen and trainer Jimmy Southard will round out the on-field staff. Southard enters his second year with the Biscuits and sixth in the organization.
Vero Beach will hand over the managerial reins to Jim Morrison, who skippered Columbus to a South Atlantic League title in 2007. A resident of Bradenton, Fla., he enters his second year with the Rays organization. Coach Brady Williams, 29, follows Morrison from Columbus to Vero Beach as he begins his third year with the Rays. Invited back for a second season at Vero Beach are pitching coach R.C. Lichtenstein (fourth year with Rays organization) and trainer Joel Smith (fifth year).
Class A Columbus will be managed by Matt Quatraro. Quatraro, 34, spent the last two years as Hudson Valley's manager, and in 2004, became the first former Rays Minor League player to join the organization as a coach. Second-year pitching coach Bill Moloney is the lone holdover for the Catfish staff. Tampa native and former Rays outfielder Ozzie Timmons will coach for Columbus after filling the same role for Quatraro last year in Hudson Valley. Nick Medina was named the trainer, making the move from Princeton.
Joe Alvarez, 52, will take over as manager at Hudson Valley after serving in the Phillies organization, where he worked as a hitting coach for Class A Lakewood last year and Class A Batavia in 2006.
The Cuban born former infielder played four seasons in the Minors with the Yankees (1974-75), Astros (1976) and Orioles (1977) organizations. He began coaching in Baltimore's farm system immediately after his playing career. He later managed in the Dodgers farm system for seven seasons (1984-90), capturing championships for Sarasota in 1987 and Vero Beach in 1990. After eight years (1991-98) scouting in the Korean Baseball Association, he coached at Gulliver Preparatory School in Miami from 2000-02.
Michael Johns, 33, will also join Hudson Valley after spending the last four years coaching baseball at Orange Park (Fla.) High School. The Tulane University graduate was drafted by the Rockies in the 19th round of the 1997 First-Year Player Draft and spent two years (1997-98) as a middle infielder in their farm system. This will be his first year coaching at the professional level.
Sandberg, Alvarez and Johns are the only additions to the organization staff for 2008.
Filling out the Hudson Valley staff are pitching coach Rafael Montalvo, beginning his ninth season of coaching and his fifth with Hudson Valley, and second-year trainer Jeff Dill.
Princeton will be managed by former Vero Beach skipper Joe Szekely. Szekely enters his fourth season with the Rays, all as a manager, having previously steered Visalia (2006) and Southwest Michigan (2005) to the playoffs. Coach Hector Torres moves to Princeton from Montgomery, where he coached from 2005-07. Marty DeMerritt returns as pitching coach for his second year with Princeton and eighth in the organization. Coach Rafael Deleon is also back with Princeton for a third season and his 13th with the Rays.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.