Rawhide reveal coaches, front office staff

House gets promotion to Visalia after leading Hillsboro to title

J.R. House managed Hillsboro to a Northwest League championship in 2014. (Jared Ravich)

By Visalia Rawhide | January 7, 2015 1:47 PM

VISALIA -- After a highly successful 2014 season, the Visalia Rawhide have never been more set to take on a new season both on the baseball field and in the front office.


The Rawhide front office now has 10 members. With just one new face in the front office, the Rawhide will have their highest number of veteran staff in club history.

Eric Clark, a Visalia native, is the sole addition to the staff, joining as a Ballpark Operations Coordinator and overseeing the Food and Beverage operation. Eric has worked in the Rawhide kitchen seasonally for the past five seasons and is looking forward to his new role in the front office. Eric and his wife have a young daughter, Joleigh.

The Rawhide are happy to announce several promotions:

  1. Cody Gray was promoted to Assistant GM of Ballpark Operations heading into his fifth season with Visalia.
  2. Charlie Saponara was promoted to Assistant GM of Tickets, Groups & Events, and is also heading into his fifth season.
  3. James Templeton transitions from an assistant into his new role as Head Groundskeeper
  4. Lauren Lopes enters her third season, becoming over as Ballpark Events Manager
  5. Heather Dominguez transitions from a front office internship to Ticketing Coordinator

Other returning staff include:

  1. General Manager, Jennifer Pendergraft (ninth season)
  2. Director of Broadcasting & Media Relations, Donny Baarns (eighth season)
  3. Executive Assistant, Jill Webb (second season)
  4. Community Relations Coordinator, Jon Bueno (second season)

In recent years, the Rawhide front office has received recognitions for California League Executive of the Year (Tom Seidler), California League Female Executive of the Year (Jennifer Pendergraft), California League Organization of the Year, Visalia Medium-Sized Business of the Year and Minor League Broadcaster of the Year (Donny Baarns).


The 2015 Rawhide coaching staff is in place, as former Major League catcher J.R. House will manage the 2015 Visalia Rawhide, the Arizona Diamondbacks announced today.

Arizona also sends former minor league infielder Jon Matthews to Tulare County as the Rawhide hitting coach, while 10-year Major League veteran Gil Heredia returns for his third season as pitching coach.

House, 35, played in parts offive Major League seasons for the Pirates, Astros and Orioles and enjoyed 12 professional seasons overall; he made his big league debut in 2003 and retired after the 2011 campaign.

House spent last season as manager of the Hillsboro Hops, the Diamondbacks Class A Short Season affiliate. He led the Hops to the Northwest League championship, as they went 48-28 in the regular season and defeated Vancouver in the league finals. This will be his second managerial season overall. He originally hails from Charleston, West Virginia.

Matthews, 42, also makes his Visalia debut as hitting coach in 2015. Matthews is from Centerville, Iowa, and was a 42nd-round selection by the Colorado Rockies in 1994. He spent last year at South Bend as the SilverHawks batting guru and begins his second season in the D-backs farm system.

Heredia, meanwhile, returns for his third season as Rawhide pitching coach. It will be his sixth year in the D-backs organization. He spent parts of 10 seasons in the Major Leagues, making his debut with the San Francisco Giants and ending his career with the Oakland A's, where he once defeated Roger Clemens in a playoff game.

With a new Diamondbacks front office in place and exciting draft picks working their way through the system, the Rawhide coaching staff figures to have plenty of talent to work with. The club won the North Division Championship last year before falling in the decisive fifth game of the California League Finals.

"We look forward to having J.R. House and the rest of this terrific coaching staff lead the 2015 Rawhide," said club General Manager Jennifer Pendergraft. "It will be our 9th season with the Arizona Diamondbacks, who have been a great partner to the ballclub and the Visalia community."

The Rawhide open their 2015 season at home on Thursday, April 9th against the Stockton Ports. For ticket information, call (559) 732-4433 ext. 1.

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