FISHKILL, N.Y. -- The Hudson Valley Renegades, Class A Short-Season affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays, will welcome former hitting coach Michael Johns to lead the reigning New York-Penn League champions for the 2013 season. Joining Johns will be pitching coach Steve Watson, returning coach Dan DeMent and trainer Jeremy Spencer.
Johns joins the Renegades after spending the last three seasons with the Rookie-level Princeton Rays. While in Princeton, Johns amassed 99 career wins and will be looking for his 100th career win when he arrives at The Dutch this summer. Johns is no stranger to the Hudson Valley as he spent the 2008-2009 seasons as the hitting coach for the Renegades. Prior to joining the Rays organization, Johns served as head coach at Orange Park (Fla.) High School from 2004-2007 and assistant baseball coach at Fernandina Beach (Fla.) High School from 1999-2003. The former middle infielder was selected by the Colorado Rockies in the 19th round of the June 1997 First-Year Player Draft, and played two years for their Class A affiliates. A graduate of Tulane University, Johns is a two-time Conference USA all-conference shortstop. This will mark his sixth season with the Tampa Bay Rays organization.
Pitching coach Steve Watson joins the Renegades after spending his first two years in the Rays system with the Class A Advanced Charlotte Stone Crabs. Before joining the Rays organization, Watson spent three seasons in the Florida Marlins system. In 2010 he served as the pitching coach for the Florida State League's, Jupiter Hammerheads. In 2008, Watson served as manager of the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Marlins, and in 2009 served as pitching coach for the New York-Penn League's Jamestown Jammers. This is his 33rd season in professional baseball, 28th in a coaching capacity. He joined the Rays on Dec. 14, 2010.
Dan DeMent will return to the Hudson Valley for his second season with the Renegades and fifth in the Rays organization. DeMent began his coaching career in 2009 with the Princeton Rays, then spent two years with the Gulf Coast League Rays. DeMent wrapped up an eight-year-playing career spent with the Tampa Bay Rays and Washington Nationals farm systems. DeMent was named the Appalachian League's 2000 All-Star DH and spent the next five years in the Rays system. In 2005, the Washington Nationals selected him in the Minor League Rule 5 Draft. DeMent reached as high as Triple-A in the Minor Leagues before entering his professional coaching career in 2008.
Jeremy Spencer will return to the Hudson Valley Renegades as the team trainer after spending last season with the Class A Bowling Green Hot Rods. Spencer served as the Hudson Valley Renegades team trainer in the 2011 season. He is entering his third season with the Tampa Bay Rays and his sixth season in professional baseball.
Hudson Valley Renegades season tickets, mini-pack plans and group tickets are now available by calling the Renegades Ticket Office at 845-838-0094. For more information, please visit hvrenegades.com online.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.