The final major addition to the Texas Rangers’ coaching staff was made Friday when the club hired Julio Rangel as pitching coach.
A native of Panama, Rangel spent last season as the minor-league pitching coordinator for the San Francisco Giants and before that spent 11 seasons in the Cleveland Indians’ organization.
“Julio came with a lot of strong recommendations,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “Really infectious personality. A real connector. I think he has a way with communication and building relationships.”
There are still two more positions for fill on manager Chris Woodward’s staff, bullpen coach and assistant hitting coach. The Rangers are interviewing for those positions, but the hires aren’t pending.
However, if the additions of Ortiz and Rangel are any indication, the next hires could be somewhat inexperienced but with a solid development background.
Woodward acknowledged that the inexperience might be concerning to some, but he is looking forward to growing and learning alongside them. In some ways, he said, it could turn into an advantage.
“You look at this from the outside in, you would maybe have some concerns,” Woodward said. “I look at it, as a first-year manager, I can’t wait to dig into this with these guys. I’m going to bet on these guys that in a month, in a year, they’re going to be better than they are today.
“We kind of mirror our ballclub. We’re going to show our players that we’re going to dig in. We’re going to set an example for our players. That might be better for our young players because they’re going to see how we grow. “
Ortiz was the Los Angeles Dodgers’ assistant hitting coach last season and left a favorable impression on Woodward, the Dodgers’ third-base coach, in how he teaches the swing and with the kind of quality person he is.
Ortiz also knew Rangel, who spent four years in banking after his playing career fizzled out in Double A. He has held a variety of roles in minor-league coaching, from coordinator to focusing on the mental side of the game.
“That was a situation where we all kind of got to know him together,” Daniels said. “It came down to three finalists. We sat down as a group a few nights ago and decided that Julio was the guy we wanted.”