The changes on the Texas Rangers’ big league coaching staff forced the organization to shuffle its minor league staffs as well. The top three affiliates will have new managers next season, the team announced Wednesday afternoon.
Steve Buechele will manage Triple A Round Rock after spending the past four seasons at Double A Frisco. He replaces Bobby Jones, who was promoted to the big league staff. Jason Wood will replace Buechele at Frisco after serving as High A Myrtle Beach’s manager the past three seasons. Wood was named Carolina League Manager of the Year last season. And Joe Mikulik, a longtime minor league manager in the Colorado organization, moves from roving outfield instructor to Myrtle Beach manager.
Corey Ragsdale (Low A Hickory), Tim Hulett (Short A Spokane) and Kenny Holmberg (Arizona Rookie League) all return to their old posts, and Aaron Levin has been named manager of the Rangers’ Dominican Summer League affiliate.
As previously announced, Scott Coolbaugh has been promoted to hitting coordinator after serving as Round Rock’s hitting coach last season, and Brook Jacoby is assistant hitting coordinator. Justin Mashore, who spent last season as Hickory’s hitting coach, will replace Coolbaugh in Round Rock.
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The Rangers’ farm system has become one of baseball’s best in recent years. Last season, they were the only organization to have every affiliate finish with at least a .500 record and posted their fifth top-seven finish in composite winning percentage since 2008.
Darvish-less Fan Fest
Yu Darvish, named the Rangers’ pitcher of the year last season, will not attend this year’s Fan Fest on Jan. 24 at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center in Grapevine.
Darvish issued a statement through the team, that read in part: “At this time, my number one priority is preparing for the 2014 season and traveling round-trip from Japan would be too difficult at this point in my training. I want to thank the fans for their understanding; you truly are the best fans in baseball. I am looking forward to the 2014 season and pursuing my ultimate goal: bringing a World Series championship to Texas.”
In other Fan Fest news, the Rangers announced they will honor minor league pitching coaches Jeff Andrews and Brad Holman as co-recipients of the third annual Bobby Jones Player Development Man of the Year Award. Professional scout Scot Engler will receive the third annual Don Welke Scout of the Year Award.
Tickets for the dinner, which begins with a reception at 6:30 p.m., can be purchased through the Rangers’ website.