DAYTONA BEACH, FL - The Cincinnati Reds have announced the 2018 coaching staff for their Advanced-A Affiliate, the Daytona Tortugas. Ricky Gutierrez returns, this time as a manger, after serving as the bench coach for the Tortugas in 2017. He will be rejoined by pitching coach Tom Brown, as well as hitting coach Alex Pelaez. Desi Relaford will fill the void as bench coach.
Manager Ricky Gutierrez begins his first full season as a manager in minor league baseball. Guttierez spent his first season in the Reds organization as the Tortugas bench coach in 2017, before being named interim manager on August 12th. Gutierrez went 9-11 as the manager, after the Tortugas had won nine of their previous 36 games. 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.
Pitching Coach Tom Brown returns for his third season with Daytona and 11th year in the Reds organization. Brown's staff pitched to a 4.09 ERA in 2017, tenth best in the Florida State League. 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 returns for his second season in 2017 and tenth in the Reds organization. He was previously the hitting coach for the Reds Double-A affiliate, Pensacola, for 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 Desi Relaford is the lone newcomer to the Tortugas staff, as part of his first season coaching in professional baseball. Relaford, a Jacksonville native, spent 11 years in the Big Leagues with seven different teams. The infielder was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the fourth round of the 1991 draft and broke in with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1996. After 4 ½ years in the City of Brotherly Love, Relaford then spent half a season in San Diego and 2001 with the New York Mets. He then finished his career with the Mariners (2002), the Kansas City Royals (2003-2004), the Colorado Rockies (2005) and the Texas Rangers (2007). After retiring in 2008, Relaford started his own record label in Jacksonville.
Trainer Larry Bennese and strength and conditioning coach Alex Puskarich will begin their first seasons with the Tortugas. Bennese comes from the Minnesota Twins organization, having served as the trainer for their Triple-A affiliate Rochester Red Wings in 2017. He has spent time in the FSL with the Fort Myers Miracle. Puskarich comes to Daytona from the Billings Mustangs (Rookie).
The Tortugas open the 2018 season with the Florida Fire Frogs on April 5th 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.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.