The Norfolk Tides and their parent club, the Baltimore Orioles, today announced Norfolk's field staff for the 2014 season. Ron Johnson will return as Manager, Mike Griffin will serve as Pitching Coach, Denny Walling will be the club's Hitting Coach and Jose Hernandez will return as a Field Coach. Mark Shires will return as the team's Athletic Trainer, while Ryo Naito will be the club's Strength and Conditioning Coach.
"We are very excited to be working with the same coaching staff again this season" said Tides President Ken Young. "We've enjoyed two straight winning years with RJ at the helm, and we are anticipating another great year in 2014."
Johnson, 57, will be in his third year in the Orioles organization after spending the previous 12 seasons in the Boston Red Sox system. He led the Tides to a 77-67 record in 2013 - Norfolk's best mark since the 2005 season and the first time the Tides have had back-to-back winning campaigns since three straight winning years from 1995-1997. For the second straight year, Johnson also joined the Baltimore Orioles coaching staff after the conclusion of the Triple-A season.
In 19 seasons as a minor league manager Johnson has compiled a career record of 1,412-1,399, and his 1,412 wins rank 6th among active minor league skippers. Johnson, who was an All-American at Fresno State University, was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in 1978 and played in 22 Major League games over parts of three seasons with the Royals (1982-83) and Expos (1984).
Griffin, 56, will be entering his sixth season as Norfolk's pitching coach and his seventh season in the Orioles organization. Griffin was presented with the Cal Ripken Sr. Player Development Award in both 2009 and 2010, an award presented to a minor league staff member who exemplifies the qualities of the late Oriole who is regarded as the architect of "The Oriole Way". As a player, he appeared in 67 major league games over parts of five seasons with five different organizations.
Walling, 59, will be in his third season with the Tides after spending the previous six seasons as the Orioles' minor league roving hitting instructor. He is in his fourth stint with the Orioles organization, as he's also served as the hitting coach for the New York Mets (2003-04) and Oakland Athletics (1996-98). Walling had an 18-year playing career in which he batted .271 while appearing in 1,271 games with Oakland, Houston, St. Louis and Texas.
Hernandez, 44, is entering his second season as a coach with Norfolk and his third in the Orioles system. He played 1,587 major league games over a 15-year career from 1991-2006, playing with nine different teams. He was a National League All-Star with Milwaukee in 2002 and he belted 168 home runs over his career, the 17th-most by a player born in Puerto Rico.
Shires, 37, will be in his eighth season as the Athletic Trainer for the Tides and his 15th with the Orioles system. Shires is a two-time International League Trainer of the Year (2009 & 2011).
Naito, 29, is entering his fourth season with the Tides and the Orioles organization. A native of Japan, he previously served as a Strength Coach within the Oakland Athletics system.