Daytona Beach, FL - The Cincinnati Reds have announced the 2017 coaching staff for their Advanced-A Affiliate, the Daytona Tortugas. Manager Eli Marrero returns for his third season and will be rejoined by Pitching Coach Tom Brown for the second consecutive year. The staff will also include Hitting Coach Alex Pelaez and Bench Coach Ricky Gutierrez. Daytona's 2015 hitting coach, Gookie Dawkins, has been promoted to Pensacola (AA).
Manager Eli Marrero led the 2016 Tortugas to a 76-61 record, his second consecutive winning season. Overall, Marrero is 159-125 in his two seasons with Daytona. He ranks third in career wins and first in career winning percentage (56%) in Daytona history. 2017 will also make him the third longest tenured manager in Daytona history. This season will be Marrero's seventh year within the Reds organization. The Havana, Cuba native previously served as the manager of the AZL Reds (2013-14) and was the hitting coach for Advanced-A Bakersfield (2012) and short-season Billings (2011). Selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the third round of the 1993 draft, Marrero made his MLB debut on September 3, 1997. The catcher/outfielder also played for the Atlanta Braves (2004), Kansas City Royals (2005), Baltimore Orioles (2005), Colorado Rockies (2006) and New York Mets (2006).
Pitching Coach Tom Brown returns for his second season with Daytona and tenth year in the Reds organization. Brown's staff pitched to a 3.62 ERA in 2016, ninth best in the Florida State Leauge. Brown came to Daytona after spending the previous two years as the pitching coach for players rehabbing in Goodyear, Arizona. He spent the 2007-09 seasons as the pitching coach of Cincinnati's former Advanced-A affiliate, the Bakersfield Blaze. From 2010-13, Brown was the pitching coach of the Reds Double-A affiliates, the Carolina Mudcats and Pensacola Blue Wahoos. Prior to joining the organization, he served as a pitching coach in Triple-A for Albuquerque (2006), Fresno (2005), Portland (2003-2004), Las Vegas (1999) and Oklahoma (1995-98). During his playing days, Brown pitched in the Kansas City Royals and Seattle Mariners systems, appearing in six Major League games with Seattle in 1978. As a member of Northeast Louisiana University's baseball team (now known as Louisiana Monroe) in 1972, he led the nation with an 0.51 ERA and eventually had his number retired. Brown is 3-0 as a pitcher in Home Run Derby's.
Hitting Coach Alex Pelaez joins Daytona for his first season in 2016 and ninth in the Reds organization. He was previously the Hitting Coach for the Reds Double-A affiliate, Pensacola, for the past three seasons. The Blue Wahoos finished 2016 with the third most home runs (89) in the Southern League. Prior to Penscaola, Pelaez was the Hitting Coach for Dayton (2011-2013) and for Billings (2010). He began his coaching career with the GCL Reds in 2009. Pelaez enjoyed an eight year career, including a stint with the San Diego Padres in 2002. The infielder closed out his career with a stint in the Reds organization, as a member of the Louisville Bats in 2005.
Bench Coach Ricky Gutierrez joins Daytona for his first season in the Reds organization, as part of an organization-wide movement to add a fourth coach to each affiliate. Gutierrez was formerly a successful high school coach in the state of Florida for a number of years. The Miami native spent 12 years in the Big Leagues, after being selected in the first round of the 1988 draft by the Baltimore Orioles. The infielder played for San Diego (1993-94), Houston (1995-1999), Chicago (2000-2001), Cleveland (2002-2003), New York (2004) and finished his career by winning a World Series with Boston (2004). The Red Sox went 14-7 in games Gutierrez played that year, en route to snapping an 86-year World Series drought. Gutierrez also spent some time playing for Daytona, appearing in four games in both 2000 and 2004 on rehab assignments.
Trainer Andrew Cleves is set to begin his first season in Daytona and seventh in the Reds organization. Cleves spent the past two seasons in Dayton. He swaps spots with Kyle Utne, who was the Tortugas trainer the past two seasons and will now take over in Dayton. Cleves is a 2012 graduate of Xavier University.
The Tortugas home schedule begins with a matchup against the Fort Myers Miracle on April 13th at 7:05 p.m. at Radiology Associates Field at Jackie Robinson Ballpark. Call (386) 257-3172 to purchase your tickets or visit daytonatortugas.com.