ST. PETERSBURG -- A distinctive Major League flavor punctuates the cast announced by the Devil Rays as their Minor League coordinators, managers, coaches and trainers for the 2007 season.
Skeeter Barnes and Dick Bosman were named the organization's outfield/baserunning coordinator and Minor League pitching coordinator respectively.
Former Major Leaguers Gary Gaetti, Neil Allen, Ben Oglivie, Jim Morrison and Ozzie Timmons will join the Rays' Minor League coaching ranks, joining longtime Minor League instructors Billy Gardner Jr. and Bill Moloney.
Barnes, 49, takes on the newly created role of outfield/baserunning coordinator in the Rays' system in what will be his 29th year in professional baseball. He served as hitting coach for the Rays' Double-A affiliate in 2003-04 and with Class A Southwest Michigan in 2005 before taking over the managerial duties of the club last season. Barnes' playing career spanned 17 seasons, including nine at the Major League level with the Reds, Expos, Cardinals and Tigers.
Bosman, 62, takes over the role he served with the Orioles in 1988, when he began his coaching career. He has spent the past six years as a pitching coach in the Rays' organization, the last three at Short-Season Hudson Valley. His coaching background includes nine seasons as a Major League pitching coach with the Orioles (1992-94)
and Rangers (1995-2000). The former Major League pitcher was 82-85 with a 3.67 ERA in 11 seasons, including 1969, when he won the American League ERA title with the Senators (2.19). He also hurled a no-hitter for the Indians vs. Oakland on July 19, 1974. Last season, Bosman's Hudson Valley staff led the New York-Penn League with 619 strikeouts and featured four of the top five ERAs in the organization.
Jim Hoff returns to his post as field coordinator for a sixth straight season. He is joined by Steve Livesey, who returns for his second season as Minor League hitting coordinator. Nick Paparesta also returns for his second season as rehab/athletic trainer coordinator, as will Chris Tomashoff (assistant athletic trainer) and Trung Cao (Minor
League strength and conditioning coordinator).
The Durham Bulls will be managed by Charlie Montoyo, who returns for his 11th year as a manager in the organization, though his first at the Triple-A affiliate. He led the Double-A Montgomery to the Southern League title last season and has a career winning percentage of .497 (626-634) with three postseason appearances.
Xavier Hernandez also makes the jump from Montgomery to Durham for his sixth season as a pitching coach in the Rays' organization. Last season, Hernandez's staff tied for tops in the Minor Leagues with 19 shutouts.
Gaetti, 48, joins the organization as Durham's hitting coach. He spent the previous four seasons with the Astros, including a two-year stint as the Major League hitting coach (July 2004-July 2006). A veteran of 20 Major League seasons, Gaetti is one of 37 players to record at least 2,250 hits and 350 home runs. He was a two-time All-Star infielder (1988-89), won four Gold Glove Awards (1986-89) and earned a spot on The Sporting News' Silver Slugger Team (1995). A former first-round pick by the Twins in 1979, he ranks sixth all-time among third basemen with 360 homers.
Trainer Mark Vinson also joins the Durham staff from Montgomery. It will be his second season with the Rays organization.
Gardner, 40, will serve as the manager at Montgomery. He owns a career mark of 713-682 (.511) over the past 11 seasons as a Minor League manager with the Red Sox, Royals, and Reds. He is the son of former Major League manager Billy Gardner.
Allen, 48, takes over as Montgomery's pitching coach after seven years with the Yankees organization, including a stint as the Major League club's bullpen coach in 2005.
Coach Hector Torres rounds out the Biscuits' coaching staff, a role he filled in 2004 when Mako Oliveras left to become manager of Puebla in the Mexican League. Torres has 39 years in professional baseball, including nine (1968-73, '75-77) as a Major League infielder with five different organizations (Astros, Cubs, Expos, Padres and Blue Jays).
Jimmy Southard joins Montgomery for his fifth
season as a trainer with the Tampa Bay organization. Last year with Class A Advanced Visalia, he was named the Minor League Athletic Trainer of the Year as well as the California League Athletic Trainer of the Year by the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society.