PIO notes: Rose Jr. on unique voyage

First-year Great Falls manager optimistic about 2013 season

Pete Rose Jr. spent the previous two seasons at the helm of the Bristol Sox. (Tony Farlow/MiLB.com)

By Greg Rachac / Special to MLB.com | June 27, 2013 6:00 AM ET

When you're the son of a baseball superstar, you've got a lot to live up to. For players like Barry Bonds and Ken Griffey Jr., their career exploits exceeded those of their famous fathers. Roberto Alomar and Moises Alou can also make that claim.

Then there's the case of Pete Rose Jr., the son of embattled all-time Major League hits leader Pete Rose, whose tarnished reputation casts a pall over an impressive playing career.

Rose Jr., the first-year manager in Great Falls, spent 21 years toiling as a player at the Minor League level and in independent leagues, trying to live up to the weight of his name. He played 11 games with the Reds at the end of the 1997 season, the extent of his big league career.

Yet Rose Jr., unlike his father, is still very much involved in baseball. After spending two years at the helm of the White Sox's Rookie affiliate in Bristol, the 43-year-old was assigned to manage in Great Falls in December and is optimistic about the team's outlook.

"They all swing the bats pretty good. I think they're going to be OK," the 43-year-old told The Great Falls Tribune. "I can tell you one thing: We're going to show up on time and play hard. And that's going to be a mainstay from Day 1 until the last day of the year."

Off to a 2-4 start, the Voyagers have been led early this season by outfielder Jacob May, a third-round selection in the 2013 Draft, as well as Nick Basto, a third baseman who was a fifth-rounder in 2012. On the mound, 2013 fourth-round pick Andrew Mitchell threw two scoreless innings in his debut on June 24.

Not unlike his father, Rose Jr. has also been embroiled in baseball controversy over the years.

In 2005, Rose Jr. pleaded guilty to charges that he distributed a steroid alternative to Minor League teammates, and he was sentenced to one month in federal prison and five months house arrest. Rose Jr.'s name was also linked in an affidavit to a former Mets clubhouse employee who admitted to supplying close to 300 players with performance enhancers.

But his father's sentence perhaps hurt him the most. Rose Sr. was banned from baseball by MLB commissioner Bart Giamatti in 1989 for wagering on games (a charge to which the elder Rose has since admitted), making him ineligible for the Hall of Fame.

"I went through some rough times," Rose Jr. said. "It's made me the man I am today. I have tough skin. But people can be ruthless."

Rose Jr., whose managerial record in Bristol was 43-90, inherits a Great Falls club that made the playoffs last season under manager Ryan Newman. The Voyagers have made the playoffs in six consecutive seasons and seven of the last 10. They won Pioneer League championships in 2011 and 2008.

In brief

An uncommon void: For the first time since 2000, Tom Kotchman is not managing in the Pioneer League. Kotchman spent the past 29 seasons with the Angels as a scout and Minor League manager, including the past 12 helming the Provo/Orem franchise. But he resigned last October and is now a staff member of the Gulf Coast League Red Sox.

Power surge: Helena and Ogden were tied for the league lead in home runs (8) after the first six games of the season. The Brewers' Taylor Brennan and Garrett Cooper each hit a league-high three long balls in that span, but perhaps most impressive were their OPS numbers: Cooper at 1.450 and Brennan at 1.241.

Taking their time: Those who hoped to catch an early glimpse of Rockies first-round Draft pick Jonathan Gray are left waiting. The No. 3 overall selection from Oklahoma University didn't pitch in any of Grand Junction's first six games, most likely due to the amount of innings he threw at OU this past season (126 1/3).

Greg Rachac is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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