I'll admit that I never considered Bengie Molina a candidate for the Texas Rangers' first-base coaching job. Then again, I didn't think he'd leave his brother and the World Series team in St. Louis to come to Arlington.
But for Molina, who aspires to one day manage in the big leagues, returning to the Rangers is a chance for career advancement and to test his versatility as a coach. At first blush, you may find it odd that one of the slower runners to put on a Rangers uniform is coaching first base. But remember: Molina is the catching instructor and can help in the batting cages if needed, too. Gary Pettis is still in charge of the Rangers' running game.
"I think he can help with the pitching," manager Ron Washington said. "I think he can help with the hitting. I don't think he wants to help with the baserunning."
The line drew a bit of a chuckle on the media conference call. But Washington is quick to point out that Molina can help in a lot of areas. As Molina himself pointed out, most of his work is done in the dugout as he talks things over with the coaching staff and aids in the game plan that day. From his 13 years as a catcher, Molina can help runners anticipate certain pitches, perhaps giving them an opportunity to swipe a base. He was the assistant hitting coach in St. Louis, so if Dave Magadan and Bobby Jones need some help in the cages, Molina can provide that. And he'll be working with the Rangers' catchers every day to help them improve.
"He's a guy who stands out as a winner," assistant general manager Thad Levine said.
Molina's hiring completes the Rangers' coaching staff. There are some new faces, but even some of those new faces are familiar ones. Molina played in Texas for four months in 2010 -- and they were memorable. Bobby Jones, now the assistant hitting coach, has been in the organization for 27 years. Tim Bogar has known Washington and Washington on Tuesday called Bogar "a trusted friend" and said he's excited about what he's going to do.
"These are all professionals," Washington said. "We know each other. I'm very pleased [with this staff]."
Here's a list of the staff for 2014:
Manager: Ron Washington
Bench/infield: Tim Bogar
Bullpen: Andy Hawkins
Assistant hitting: Bobby Jones
Pitching: Mike Maddux
Hitting: Dave Magadan
First base/catching: Bengie Molina
Third base/outfield/baserunning: Gary Pettis