(AKRON, OHIO) January 24, 2020- The Cleveland Indians have announced the organization's staff alignment within its Player Development System for the 2020 season and the Akron RubberDucks' field staff are quite familiar with Akron from previous stops with the franchise.Manager ROUGLAS ODOR, who was the RubberDucks hitting coach in 2014,
(AKRON, OHIO) January 24, 2020- The Cleveland Indians have announced the organization's staff alignment within its Player Development System for the 2020 season and the Akron RubberDucks' field staff are quite familiar with Akron from previous stops with the franchise.
Manager ROUGLAS ODOR, who was the RubberDucks hitting coach in 2014, returns for his second season and will again be joined by pitching coach TONY ARNOLD, who worked in the same capacity under Odor in 2019. Also retuning from last year's staff is athletic trainer BOBBY RUIZ, who spent four seasons with the Lynchburg Hillcats (2015-18) before joining Akron in 2019. Familiar faces returning to Akron include hitting coach Junior Betances, who played for the Akron Aeros in 1998-1999 and bench coach Jordan Smith , who played for the RubberDucks from 2014-2017, and strength and conditioning coach Scott Nealon, who served in the same position in 2016.
Odor, 51, reups as the RubberDucks manager after the 2019 season. Last season, Odor led the RubberDucks to a 61-79 record and a fifth-place finish in the Eastern League Western Division. Odor and the RubberDucks posted a first-half record of 34-35 and sent five players to the Eastern League All-Star Game. Odor has a 422-442 (.488) career managing record in 12 seasons.
Odor has the distinction of becoming the first person to wear the uniforms of the Canton-Akron Indians, Akron Aeros, and Akron RubberDucks when he was the club's hitting coach in 2014. He played 197 games for Canton-Akron during the 1991, 1993-94 seasons, and he was the hitting coach for the Aeros' 2012 Eastern League Championship squad.
"I'm excited to be back in Akron again, with a lot of great baseball people, fans, front office, solid coaching staff and great baseball players," said Odor.
The 2020 season will be Odor's 33rd in the Cleveland organization as a player or coach (20th season as a coach). Originally a 32nd-round draft pick by the Indians in 1988, the former shortstop played in the minor leagues for the Indians from 1988-94 and for the Milwaukee Brewers organization in 1995. He managed San Felipe in the Venezuelan Summer League for two seasons in 1999-2000, the Burlington Indians for four seasons from 2001-04, the Mahoning Valley Scrappers for two seasons in 2005-06, and the Gulf Coast League Indians for two seasons in 2007-08. Since then, Odor has moved up the ranks has a hitting coach, starting with Class-A Kinston in 2009-10, Akron in 2011-12 and 2014, the High-A Carolina Mudcats in 2013, and Triple-A Columbus in 2015-17.
"My main goal is to develop big-league players in a winning atmosphere," said Odor. "I know the minors are about player development, but I want to teach them the right way to win ballgames because at the big-league level, it's all about winning."
The Maracaibo, Venezuela, native resides in Winter Haven, Fla., with wife, Milagros. He has three sons and is the uncle of Texas Rangers infielder Rougned Odor .
Pitching coach Arnold, 60, continues with the RubberDucks for his fifth stint in Akron. In 2019, the RubberDucks pitching staff finished fifth in the EL with a 3.46 ERA, ranked eighth with 1,155 strikeouts and the 14 team shutouts ranked sixth, while three pitchers who began their seasons with Akron finished the year with Cleveland. Prior to last season, Arnold helped lead the 2016 RubberDucks team to an EL championship. He previously served in the same capacity in Akron from 1996-99, 2008, and 2011-12. Arnold's 2012 Akron Aeros staff crafted a franchise-record 3.03 ERA and went on to claim the Eastern League championship. In 2016, Arnold became the second man to wear the uniforms of the Canton-Akron Indians, Akron Aeros and Akron RubberDucks, joining Odor in that exclusive group.
In 2015, Arnold began as the pitching coach at Class A Lynchburg under Mark Budzinski and finished at Triple-A Columbus, helping the Clippers to the International League title. A former All-American at the University of Texas, Arnold pitched in the major leagues with the Baltimore Orioles in 1986 and 1987.
Hitting coach Betances, 46, joins Akron for the first time in his 20-year coaching career with the Cleveland Indians organization. After posting a .289 batting average over 165 games in 1998-99 with the Akron Aeros, Betances joined the coaching ranks in various roles at the Dominican Summer League team from 2000-2010. Betances then served an AZL Indians coach from 2010-2015, then came to Lake County as the bench coach in 2017. A native of La Vega, Dominican Republic, Betances has developed a wealth of experience in various player development roles within the Indians organization.
Bench coach Smith, 29, enters his third season coaching with the Indians after serving as the bench coach last season for the Lake County Captains under manager Luke Carlin. Primarily an outfielder in his playing days, the Willmar, Minnesota, native was drafted by the Indians in ninth round of the 2011 MLB amateur draft and spent six seasons in the system, reaching Akron in 2014. At the Double-A level with Akron, Smith posted a .259 batting average in 390 games.
Strength and Conditioning Coach Nealon enters his eighth season in the Indians organization and returns to the same role he held with Akron in 2016. Nealon was the Triple-A Columbus strength and conditioning coach the last three seasons, including the Clippers' 2019 Governors' Cup. He was the strength and conditioning coach in Carolina (2013-14) and Lynchburg (2015) before his first year with Akron. Nealon earned his master's degree in exercise from Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, Ohio.
Athletic trainer Bobby Ruiz returns in Akron for his second season in Akron after spending the last four seasons (2015-18) with Lynchburg. It will be his 10th in the Indians system.
The Akron RubberDucks are the Double-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. The 2020 season, powered by FirstEnergy, will open Thursday, April 9, 2020, with the 24th home opener at Canal Park on Friday, April 17. For more information about the team, please call 330-253-5151, visit the website at akronrubberducks.com, Facebook page facebook.com/AkronRubberDucks, or on Twitter at @AkronRubberDuck, and Instagram at @akronrubberducks.