FRISCO, TEXAS (JANUARY 8, 2014) - For the first time in five years, the Frisco RoughRiders will have a new manager as the Texas Rangers announced their minor league field staff for the 2014 season on Wednesday. Former major league infielder Jason Wood will become the seventh manager in RoughRiders history, replacing Steve Buechele who will manage Triple-A Round Rock in 2014.
The remainder of Frisco's coaching staff remains intact from the 2013 season. Jeff Andrews will return as the team's pitching coach while former Rangers and 'Riders player Jason Hart will resume his duties as the hitting coach.
Wood, 44, managed the Rangers' Advanced-A affiliate in Myrtle Beach for the past three seasons, guiding the Pelicans to the playoffs in each campaign. He was named the Carolina League Manager of the Year in 2013 after Myrtle Beach won the first half division title and finished the season with a 77-62 record. In three seasons as a minor league manager, Wood's teams have posted a 223-184 (.548) record and he has been tabbed as the Carolina League's "Best Managerial Prospect" in Baseball America's tools survey in each of the past two years. The Fresno, Calif. native joined the Rangers organization in 2009 and served as Advanced-A Bakersfield's hitting coach for two seasons prior to becoming the manager of the Pelicans.
A veteran of 18 professional seasons as a player, Wood made his major league debut on Opening Day in 1998 for the Oakland Athletics. He played parts of the 1998-99 seasons for Oakland and the Detroit Tigers before spending six consecutive seasons in the minor leagues. He re-emerged in the big leagues in 2006 with the Florida Marlins at age 36 and proceeded to play nearly 100 games in a Marlins uniform in 2007. Wood retired from playing after splitting 2008 between Florida and Triple-A Albuquerque. Over parts of five major league seasons, he hit .245 with five home runs and 36 RBI in 153 games. He played in 1,890 minor league contests from 1991-2008 with five organizations (Oakland, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Florida), batting .271 with 180 home runs and 1,021 RBI.
Wood graduated from McLane (Calif.) High School before attending Fresno State University, where he helped lead the Bulldogs to a 1991 Big West title with a .343 batting average. He also attended Fresno City College and was drafted three times before signing with Oakland as an 11th round selection in 1991 (he was also drafted by Toronto in the 56th round in 1988 and by Atlanta in the 39th round in 1990).
After four seasons as Frisco's manager, Buechele, 52, will manage the Rangers' top minor league affiliate in 2014. The former Rangers third baseman is the RoughRiders' all-time leader in managerial wins, going 301-258 (.538) in his Texas League career with three postseason berths, including an appearance in the league championship series in 2012. Buechele also managed one season at Bakersfield (with current RoughRiders skipper Jason Wood serving as his hitting coach) and owns a 376-323 (.538) career record as a manager.
Andrews, 54, will mark his sixth season as Frisco's pitching coach and his 29th as a minor league instructor. He joined the RoughRiders during the 2009 season and previously served in the same capacity on the Pittsburgh Pirates' major league staff in 2008. In 2013, Andrews oversaw a pitching staff that was statistically the best in RoughRiders history. Despite utilizing a league-high 37 pitchers (and 19 different starters), Frisco finished with the best numbers in team history in ERA, strikeouts, WHIP and hits/9 IP.
The upcoming campaign will be the third for Hart, 36, on the RoughRiders' coaching staff and sixth as a coach in the Rangers organization. He was the hitting coach for Single-A Hickory from 2010-11 and began his coaching career with short-season Spokane in 2009. Hart's instruction has been lauded for helping former RoughRiders Jurickson Profar, Mike Olt, Leury Garcia, Chris McGuiness and Engel Beltre all reach the major leagues over the past two seasons.
Rangers scout James Vilade will return for his fifth season with the RoughRiders as an assistant hitting coach and will handle first base coaching duties for home games.
The Rangers also announced the return of the RoughRiders' athletic support staff. Carlos Olivas will be back for his fourth season as Frisco's athletic trainer and his sixth year with the Rangers organization. He has been named the Texas League's Athletic Trainer of the Year for each of the past two seasons. Strength and conditioning coach Eric McMahon will also return for his fourth season with the RoughRiders and sixth with the Rangers. He was named the Texas League's top strength and conditioning coach following the 2012 season.
Opening Day 2014 is April 3 when the RoughRiders host the Northwest Arkansas Naturals to begin a six-game home stand. For information on tickets to see the RoughRiders in 2014, please call (972) 731-9200, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.ridersbaseball.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.