FRESNO, Calif. - In conjunction with their parent club, the defending World Series Champion Houston Astros, the Fresno Grizzlies have announced their field staff for the 2018 season. Rodney Linares becomes the second field manager during Fresno's affiliation with Houston, dating back to 2015, and is the 10th manager in franchise history. Linares spent the previous three seasons managing the Astros Double-A affiliate in the Texas League, the Corpus Christi Hooks.
Rodney Linares, Manager: Linares, 40, compiled a sparkling 241-177 (.577) record managing Double-A Corpus Christi from 2015-2017. In his first two years on that job the Hooks reached the 85-win plateau, for a combined record of 174-106 (.621). Those 2015 and 2016 prospect-laden Double-A squads included the likes of INF Alex Bregman, RHP Joe Musgrove, INF Tyler White and OF/INF Tony Kemp; just a partial list of players Linares helped develop in contribution to not only the Houston Astros world championship in 2017, but the Fresno Grizzlies 2015 Triple-A National Championship as well. Linares was named 2015 Texas League Manager of The Year after guiding Corpus Christi to an 89-51 record, the best in that franchise's history.
Between 2012 and 2016, Linares piloted five consecutive playoff teams, guiding then-Houston affiliate Lancaster (Class A-Advanced, California League) to three consecutive postseason berths before his promotion to Double-A. A member of the Lancaster JetHawks Hall-of-Fame for his efforts, Linares' playoff clubs compiled a 408-292 record (.583) over all levels in those five seasons. In 2012 and 2014 Linares skippered the JetHawks to the California League title, their first championships in franchise history, with a 234-186 record (.557) over three seasons, not including a 16-7 mark in postseason games. He was also named 2013 California League Manager of The Year.
"In our three seasons with the Astros, we've heard constant positive things from the players about their experience playing for Rodney Linares," said Fresno Grizzlies Executive Vice President and General Manager Derek Franks. "We're aiming for a fourth consecutive winning season, and with Rodney's sterling record as a manager to this point, I'm sure our fans are as excited for opening day 2018 as we are," Franks continued.
Now in his 21st season with the Houston Astros organization, Linares previously managed then-Astros affiliates Lexington from 2010-2011 (Class A, South Atlantic League) and Greeneville from 2007-2009 (Rookie, Appalachian League). Linares holds a 679-637 record (.516) as a professional manager over 11 seasons. Past roles included Lexington hitting coach (2005-2006) and being a scout and hitting coach at the Astros' Dominican Republic operations (1999-2004).
Linares makes his offseason home in San Pedro de Macoris in the Dominican Republic, and is the first Spanish-speaking manager in Fresno Grizzlies history.
Dyar Miller, Pitching Coach: Dyar Miller, 71, is entering his sixth season with the Houston Astros, and his third as the organization's Triple-A pitching coach. A season ago, Miller mentored four pitchers who made either their Astros or Major League debut with in-season call-ups, and presided over the incredible second-half run of prospect sensation Rogelio Armenteros. Under Miller's guidance, Armenteros compiled an 8-1 record (2.16 ERA/1.05 WHIP/.203 AVG) during the first 10 starts of his Triple-A debut. He struck out 72 batters in just 58.1 innings pitched after being promoted from Double-A.
Entering his 51st year in professional baseball playing or coaching, Miller played in seven Major League seasons with the Orioles, Angels, Blue Jays and Mets, posting a 3.23 ERA in 251 MLB appearances. He's been a coach or instructor with the White Sox, Cardinals, Indians and Tigers organizations during his long career.
Darryl Robinson, Hitting Coach: Darryl Robinson is entering his 22nd season in professional baseball as a player or coach, and will guide Astros minor league hitters in California for the 10th consecutive season. In his debut as Grizzlies hitting coach last season, the club batted a collective .282, an improvement of 25 points from 2016. Fresno's 200 home runs in 2017 were not only an increase of 58 from the prior season, but also a club record, smashing the previous mark of 184 (1998). The Grizzlies led not only all of Triple-A in homers, but all of Minor League Baseball as well; league rival El Paso was a distant second with 179. There were individual accolades as well; Robinson pupil and Grizz first baseman A.J. Reed lifted 34 home runs, taking the overall MiLB crown for the second time in three seasons. (Reed also hit 34 HR in 2015 between Lancaster and Corpus Christi, 23 of which came under Robinson's tutelage at Lancaster).
Not to be outdone, Grizzlies leadoff man Tony Kemp led all of Triple-A in base hits with 166, amidst a .329 season good for the fifth-highest average in Triple-A after also being reunited with Robinson in Fresno.
Before shifting to Fresno for 2017, Robinson spent the previous eight years as the hitting coach of the A-Advanced Lancaster JetHawks in the California League, a position he first assumed in 2009. He was named Cal League Hitting Coach of the Year in 2013, and helped Lancaster to the California League championship a season later in 2014. Working under Linares, the pair helped Lancaster to both of their Cal League titles. Robinson's coaching career followed him playing professionally for over a decade (1986-1998); he was a second round draft pick of the Kansas City Royals in 1986, playing seven seasons with that organization.
Ray Hernandez, Development Coach: Hernandez joins the Astros as development coach at Fresno after spending the last three years as pitching coach at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento, California. Hernandez pitched in the Arizona Diamondbacks minor league system from 2011-13.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.