Texas Rangers: Bobby Jones
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
It hasn't been decided whether Jones will coach first base, as the club has one more spot to fill on the staff. That slot will go to someone with catching experience, and either that coach or Jones will also coach first with Gary Pettis staying at third base.
It's likely that Double-A Frisco manager Steve Buechele will take Jones' place at Round Rock.
Jones is a favorite among the players and has spent much of his baseball life with the Rangers.
|Fitzsimmons and Durrett react to Nelson Cruz's suspension and discuss the impact his absence will have on the Rangers' lineup, what players need to step up and the team's playoff hopes. |
Can the same happen for Butler, who is batting .291 with 10 home runs and 44 RBIs for the Express?
"Nelson had a lot more talent than Joey had," Triple-A Round Rock Bobby Jones said on the phone from Sacramento on Monday. Jones was Cruz's manager at Oklahoma City for five years.
"Joey has to work on all parts of his game," Jones said. "He's done that work and thank God he got this opportunity. I love the kid. He has flaws. He chases pitches out of the strike zone. Maybe this will fire him up and he'll become a better player."
Butler's hitting coach at Round Rock, Scott Coolbaugh, said the Rangers have a player who potentially could be able to handle a platoon situation against left-handed pitching. Butler is batting .321 against lefties with a .532 slugging percentage.
"He's always been a kid that been better against left-handers than right," Coolbaugh said. "He becomes vulnerable to certain pitches from the right side. He's going to be able to handle himself against left-handed pitching. It's a matter of how much of an opportunity he's going to get it and what kind of start he gets off to."
Both Jones and Coolbaugh said Butler is a below average outfielder who can take bad routes, but will catch the ball if he gets to it. Sounds like the player Butler will help replace -- Cruz.
One thing is for sure, Jones said. Like Engel Beltre -- who was called back up after seeing some time with the Rangers this season -- Butler is a good teammate who will bring energy to the big league club.
"He's a good teammate," Jones said. "He's always upbeat and positive and has a smile on his face. He should bring a little life in there and liven things up. He's a good kid to have around."
Jones said he was disappointed to see Cruz admit to an "error in judgment" as the slugger put it Monday in a statement by violating Major League Baseball's drug program.
"It's a shame," Jones said. "I don't know the extent of it. He has always loved to play, worked hard and been a great teammate. I never thought he'd be involved in this."
- Tom Grieve Minor League Player of the Year: SS Jurickson Profar
- Nolan Ryan Minor League Pitcher of the Year: LHP Robbie Ross
- Rangers Minor League Reliever of the Year: Justin Miller
- Defender of the Year: OF Ryan Strausborger
All four players will be honored at the 2012 Texas Rangers Dr Pepper Awards Show on Thursday at the Arlington Convention Center. You can listen to our Hot Stove Show on 103.3 FM ESPN from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. as well on Thursday as we talk to many Rangers players about the upcoming season.
Other honorees include:
- Michael Young: 2011 Rangers Player of the Year, 2011 Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award
- C.J. Wilson: 2011 Rangers Pitcher of the Year
- Craig Gentry: 2011 Rangers Rookie of the Year
- David Murphy: 2011 Harold McKinney Good Guy Award
- Darren Oliver: 2011 Jim Sundberg Community Achievement Award
- Frank Howard: 2012 Mark Holtz Texas Rangers Alumni Award
- Clayton Kershaw: 2011 Texas Professional Baseball Player of the Year
- Adrian Beltre: 2011 Rawlings Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Awards
- Bobby Jones: 2011 Bobby Jones Player Development Man of the Year Award
- Don Welke: 2011 Don Welke Scout of the Year Award
The show is a theater-style seating event. The doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show begins at 7:30. Tickets are still available for $75 (reserved) or $50 (general admission) and can be purchased at texasrangers.com or by calling 972-726-4377.
The Bobby Jones Player Development Man of the Year Award and the Don Welke Scout of the Year Award will be presented for the first time at the 2012 Dr Pepper Texas Awards Show next Thursday (Jan. 12) at the Arlington Convention Center. The awards will then be given out each year.
Some brief background items on Jones and Welke from the club's release:
Jones enters his 25th season as a manager or coach in the Rangers organization in 2012. He was selected as the Pacific Coast League’s Manager of the Year in 2011, when he guided Triple-A Round Rock to an 87-57 record and a first place division finish. Jones has won over 1500 games and guided teams to 12 postseason berths in a managerial career that began with the Class A Charlotte Rangers in 1988. His connection to the franchise dates back to 1967, when he was drafted by the Washington Senators. He later played with the Rangers and owns the club record with 42 career pinch hits.
Welke, the Rangers Senior Special Assistant to the General Manager, Scouting, is a veteran of 47 years as a professional scout with the Reds, Royals, Blue Jays, Orioles, Dodgers, Phillies, and Rangers. He originally joined the Rangers organization in 2005 and returned to the Texas in 2007 after a year with Philadelphia. He has been involved in the scouting and acquisition of countless All-Stars over the years, helping to assemble World Championship clubs in Toronto in 1992 and 1993 as well as the back-to-back A.L. Champion Rangers teams in 2010 and 2011.
BTW, here's an ESPNDallas.com story on Welke from last season. He's been in the game a long time and is a vital part of the front office.
For those of you wanting to attend the Dr Pepper Awards Show, you can still do so. Visit the club's website here or call 972-RANGERS. Tickets are $75 for reserved and $50 for general admission. BTW, here's a list of the Rangers receiving awards (many of them are the BBWAA local chapter awards):
Michael Young: 2011 Rangers Player of the Year, 2011 Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award
C.J. Wilson: 2011 Rangers Pitcher of the Year
Craig Gentry: 2011 Rangers Rookie of the Year
David Murphy: 2011 Harold McKinney Good Guy Award
Darren Oliver: 2011 Jim Sundberg Community Achievement Award
Frank Howard: 2012 Mark Holtz Texas Rangers Alumni Award
Clayton Kershaw: 2011 Texas Professional Baseball Player of the Year
Adrian Beltre: 2011 Rawlings Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Awards
The Dr Pepper Awards Show will be a theater-style seating event. Doors to the Arlington Convention Center will open at 6:30 p.m. and fans attending will be able to get a sneak peak of FanFest. Refreshments will also be served and are including in the ticket price. The Awards Show is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.