Ray Burris, 62, becomes just the second pitching coach in team history. The native of Duke, Okla., spent the last five seasons as pitching coach at Erie (AA) after one-year stops in Oneonta (Short-Season A) and West Michigan (A) during his first two seasons with the Tigers.
Prior to his time with Detroit, Burris served in a variety of capacities at both the Major and Minor League levels. After retiring as a player with the Brewers in 1987, he began the post-playing phase of his career as a minor league pitching coach for Milwaukee for two seasons (1988-89). He then joined the Brewers' big league staff as the bullpen coach for two years (1990-91) before later serving as a roving instructor, special assistant to the general manager, advanced scout and community development employee while with Milwaukee.
Burris next had a four-year stint with the Texas Rangers, which started as the Rangers' assistant pitching coach in 1992. He then moved to the front office for three years (1993-95) where he spent time as a special assistant for community development and special projects and later as an assistant to the vice president of community development. Included on Burris' resume is a stretch as the roving pitching instructor in the St. Louis Cardinals organization from 2001-02. Additionally, Burris has worked with top prospects in the prestigious Arizona Fall League as the pitching coach for the Mesa Solar Sox (2008) and the Surprise Rafters (2010).
Over his 15-year Major League career, Burris went 108-134 with a 4.17 ERA in 408 games (302 games started) with seven different clubs. Seven of those 15 seasons came with the Chicago Cubs, who drafted the 6-5 right-hander in the 17th round of the 1972 draft out of Southwestern Oklahoma State University. Burris also pitched for the New York Yankees (1979), New York Mets (1979-80), Montreal Expos (1981-83), Oakland A's (1984), Brewers (1985, '87) and Cardinals (1986). Among his career highlights, Burris tossed a five-hit shutout against the Dodgers in Game 2 of the 1981 National League Championship Series.
Burris replaces Rod Nichols, who will take over as bullpen coach for the Phillies, after guiding the IronPigs pitching staff to a top-five ERA in the International League in four of his five seasons.
Sal Rende, 57, embarks on his third season as hitting coach for the IronPigs after a three-year stint as roving hitting instructor for the Phillies. Rende also spent his first four seasons in the organization as Triple-A hitting coach for both Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (2004-06) and Ottawa (2007).
Rende's post-playing resume is extensive and impressive and includes managerial stints in the Chicago-A (1984), Seattle (1986-87) and Kansas City (1988-91) farm systems. In 11 seasons as a Minor League skipper, he posted eight sinning seasons, six first-place finishes, three league championships and a combined 736-618 (.544) record. He was named Minor League Manager of the Year by The Sporting News and the American Association in 1990, going 86-60 with the Triple-A Omaha Royals.
After being selected by Cleveland in the 27th round of the 1977 draft, Rende spent seven years in the Indians minor league system, which included winning the New York-Penn League MVP award in 1977 for Batavia (A).
In addition to naming Lehigh Valley's 2013 manager and coaches, the Phillies unveiled the staffs for all their Minor League affiliates yesterday. The staffs are listed below:
LEHIGH VALLEY (TRIPLE-A): Dave Brundage (Manager), Ray Burris (Pitching Coach), Sal Rende (Coach)
READING (DOUBLE-A): Dusty Wathan (Manager), Dave Lundquist (Pitching Coach), Frank Cacciatore (Coach)
CLEARWATER (ADVANCED-A): Chris Truby (Manager), Bob Milacki (Pitching Coach), John Mizerock (Coach)
LAKEWOOD (LOW-A): Mickey Morandini (Manager), Aaron Fultz (Pitching Coach), Greg Legg (Coach)
WILLIAMSPORT (ADVANCED-R): TBD (Manager), Les Lancaster (Pitching Coach), Lino Connell (Coach)
GCL PHILLIES (R): Roly deArmas (Manager), Steve Schrenk (Pitching Coach), Ramon Henderson (Coach), Rafael DeLima (Coach)
COORDINATOR STAFF: Mike Compton (field), Gorman Heimueller (pitching), first-year member Andy Tracy (hitting), Doug Mansolino (infield), Andy Abad (outfield/baserunning) and Ernie Whitt (catching). Carlos Arroyo has been named the organization's minor league roving pitching coach and Jorge Velandia has assumed the position of special assistant, player development.
To renew or order season tickets, mini plans or group tickets for the 2013 IronPigs season presented by Capital BlueCross, call (610) 841-PIGS (7447) or visit Coca-Cola Park's ticket office during normal business hours.
The Lehigh Valley IronPigs are dedicated to providing family-friendly entertainment and are the only Minor League team to offer bubbles to fans entering the AT&T Plaza and balloons for all children exiting Coca-Cola Park.
Burris Bites (More on new IronPigs Pitching Coach Ray Burris...)
- Burris made his MLB debut in just his second year of professional baseball - 14 months after being drafted by the Cubs out of Southwestern State University in 1972. In his inaugural appearance on Aug. 8, 1973, he tossed 3.1 IP of scoreless relief in a 5-2 loss to Montreal at Wrigley Field.
- Burris was a two-time Opening Day starting pitcher for the Chicago Cubs (1976, 77)
- On Sept. 21, 1981, Burris, while pitching for Montreal, squared off in an epic duel against Steve Carlton and the Phillies. The journeyman Burris matched the Hall-of-Famer's performance as each tossed 10 shutout innings allowing only three hits apiece before being removed for pinch-hitters in the 11th. The Expos would win the game, 1-0, in the 17th inning on an Andre Dawson RBI single.
- Burris earned the first postseason win in Montreal franchise history -- tossing a five-hit shutout and outdueling LHP Fernando Valenzuela in an Expos' 3-0 victory in Game 2 of the 1981 National League Championship Series in Los Angeles (Oct. 14). The two again squared off in the deciding Game 5 in Montreal on Oct. 19, and both worked eight innings of one-run ball in a Dodgers' 2-1 victory (Steve Rogers allowed a run in the top of the ninth affording Valenzuela the 1-0 win).
- Burris had retired following the 1986 season and was serving as the Milwaukee Brewers pitching coach in 1987 when he was pressed back into action for 10 games (2-2, 5.87) during the season.
- In 1989 he played for the West Palm Beach Tropics in the inaugural season of the Senior Professional Baseball Association (players had to be 35 or older). Burris went 8-2 with a 5.05 ERA in 15 starts for the club. Hall-of-Fame Manager Dick Williams guided the Tropics that season while Burris' teammates included the likes of Rollie Fingers, Dave Kingman, Ron Washington and Mickey Rivers.