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Hardtke to Return as Rawhide Manager in 201211/22/2011 6:53 PM ET
VISALIA--Jason Hardtke will return to Visalia to manage the 2012 Visalia Rawhide, the Arizona Diamondbacks announced today.
Arizona also sends former Major League all-star Doug Drabek back to Tulare County as the Rawhide Pitching Coach, while 9-year Major League veteran Jacob Cruz will be Visalia's new Hitting Coach. Also returning to the Rawhide are Jordan Wolf (Strength and Conditioning Coach) and Ben Fraser (Trainer).
Jason Hardtke, 39, will enter his 4th season in the organization and his 2nd as a manager. He originally hails from San Jose, California, and was signed by the Cleveland Indians out of high school in 1990.
During Hardtke's 12-year professional career, he spent time in the Indians, Padres, Mets, Cubs, Reds, Rockies, and White Sox organizations. He played in the Major Leagues from 1996-98 with the Mets and Cubs. He also spent a season in Japan with the Hanshin Tigers.
Doug Drabek, meanwhile, begins his 2nd season in Visalia and 3rd with the D-backs. Drabek, 49, won 155 games during a 13-year Major League career for the Yankees, Pirates, Astros, White Sox, and Orioles. He won the 1990 National League Cy Young Award when he posted 22 wins and a 2.76 ERA, and is most remembered for his tenure with the Pittsburgh Pirates teams that won the NL East title from 1990-92.
Drabek has two sons that have played baseball professionally. Kyle Drabek has split time between the Toronto Blue Jays' Major League and AAA teams the past two years; he was acquired by Toronto from Philadelphia in the Roy Halladay trade of 2009. Justin Drabek played in the Independent Leagues from 2006-08.
Jacob Cruz, 38, enters his 2nd coaching season with the D-backs, and his 1st in Visalia. He spent last season as the Hitting Coach for the short-season Yakima Bears. He was a 1st-round draft pick by San Francisco in 1994 and played parts of 9 seasons in the Major Leagues with the Giants, Indians, Rockies, Tigers, and Reds. He also played professionally in South Korea, Japan, and Mexico. Cruz hails from Oxnard, California, and is of Mexican descent.
With exciting new Diamondbacks draft picks working their way through the system, the Rawhide coaching staff figures to have plenty of talent to work with.
"We are looking forward to having Jason Hardtke and Doug Drabek back to lead the 2012 Rawhide," said club President Tom Seidler. "It will be our sixth with the Arizona Diamondbacks, who have been a great partner to the ballclub and the Visalia community."
The Rawhide open their 2012 home season on Thursday, April 12th against Rancho Cucamonga. For ticket information, call (559) 732-4433 ext. *826.