Two familiar faces have rounded out manager Ron Washington’s coaching staff, with Bengie Molina and Bobby Jones hired Tuesday.
Molina returns to the Texas Rangers to be their first-base coach and catching instructor, and Jones was promoted from manager of Triple A Round Rock to be the assistant hitting coach.
Molina spent the final four months of his career with the Rangers, joining them June 30, 2010, in a trade with San Francisco. He took over the primary catching duties and was a difference-maker as the Rangers went to the World Series for the first time.
He had been the assistant hitting coach in St. Louis, where his brother Yadier is an All-Star and is widely regarded as the best defensive catcher in the game. But Bengie Molina bolted the Cardinals to help advance his coaching career and to help his former team.
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“It wasn’t easy to leave my brother or the Cardinals. It’s more about my future,” Molina said. “It’s a great opportunity for me. I think I have a lot of knowledge in different areas of the game. I can help anybody at any time. I just have it in my head that I’m going to come in and help as many people as I can.”
Jones will be in his third stint on the big-league staff, but is mostly known for his work in the farm system. He has amassed a record of 1,656-1,621 in 24 years as a minor-league manager, with 12 postseason appearances.
Jones also made his major-league debut as a player with the Rangers in 1974.
A.J. Pierzynski lives near the J.W. Marriott Grande Lakes, and the Rangers’ primary catcher last season managed to sneak in breakfast with Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf ahead of a scheduled tee time.
Pierzynski knows he won’t be back with the Rangers after they anointed Geovany Soto as their No. 1 catcher and said that he isn’t too concerned where he will land next season.
“I have no preferences,” Pierzynski said. “I’ll be somewhere. It’ll all work itself out.”
Several teams have shown interest in him, he said. One possible landing spot, according to a report, is Philadelphia if the Phillies are unable to re-sign Carlos Ruiz.
Replay getting closer
Joe Torre, MLB’s executive vice president of baseball operations, said that a vote from the owners to implement expanded instant replay for 2014 is possible as soon as Thursday.
MLB has been working with the players and umpires unions to move toward accepting replay, and a new system could be available for trial runs in spring training and implemented by Opening Day.
“We’re about as far along with the knowledge we have as we can go,” Torre said. “There are certain things we have to decide on, things that don’t really affect what we’re going to do but how we’re going to do it.”
Expanded replay has been used in the Arizona Fall League with positive results, Torre said. But the final product is still a work in progress, and likely will be fine-tuned in the future.
Torre also said that a rule change to protect catchers by regulating home-plate collisions is also under discussion, but there is no guarantee that it will be ready for 2014.