Daytona Tortugas Announce 2019 Field Staff
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - On Wednesday, the Cincinnati Reds announced their minor league coaching staff assignments for the upcoming 2019 campaign. Ricky Gutierrez will return to the Daytona Tortugas for the third-consecutive season and his second straight as the team's manager. Pitching coach Tom Brown and hitting coach Alex Pelaez will also remain on the Tortugas' staff, alongside new bench coach Lenny Harris, athletic trainer Ryan Ross, and strength and conditioning coach Trey Strickland.
2019 will mark Gutierrez's third season in the Reds' organization, all of which have been spent with the Tortugas. The 48-year-old served as Daytona's bench coach back in 2017 under Eli Marrero before assuming the role of manager last season. Under Gutierrez's tutelage, the Tortugas accumulated a 69-66 overall record in 2018, while capturing the first-half North Division crown with a 37-29 mark. The Miami, Fla. native guided Daytona to a win over the Clearwater Threshers in the North Division Finals before falling to the Florida State League-champion Fort Myers Miracle in four games during the league championship.
A former first-round selection (30th overall) of the Baltimore Orioles back in 1988, Gutierrez had a 19-year professional playing career, spending 12 of them in the Major Leagues. Primarily serving as a middle infielder, Daytona's skipper accrued a career .266 batting average (967-3632) with 204 extra-base hits, 38 home runs, and 357 runs batted in over 1,119 games with the San Diego Padres, Houston Astros, Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Indians, New York Mets, and Boston Red Sox, between 1993 and 2004. Gutierrez also appeared in four games for the then-Daytona Cubs on a rehab assignment back in 2004, going 1-for-13 at the plate.
Tom Brown enters his 13th season in the Reds' organization and his fourth in charge of Daytona's pitching staff. The Tortugas' have tallied a 3.94 ERA (1537 ER in 3511.1 IP) and 3,069 strikeouts combined over his first three campaigns. Prior to joining Daytona, the 69-year-old served as pitching coach for Cincinnati players rehabbing in at the team's complex in Goodyear, Ariz. (2014-15), the Pensacola Blue Wahoos (2012-13), Carolina Mudcats (2010-11), and Sarasota Reds (2007-09). Before joining Cincinnati, Brown held roles as the pitching coach for the Albuquerque Isotopes (2006), Fresno Grizzlies (2005), Portland Beavers (2003-04), Las Vegas 51's (1999), Oklahoma RedHawks/Oklahoma City 89ers (1995-98), Gulf Coast League Orioles (1991), and Hagerstown Suns (1988-90). The Venice, Fla. resident also served as the San Diego Padres' Minor League Pitching Coordinator from 2000 to 2002.
As a player, Brown played seven seasons in the Kansas City Royals, Houston Astros, Seattle Mariners, Cleveland Indians, Texas Rangers, and Toronto Blue Jays organizations. The alum of Northeast Louisiana University - now the University of Louisiana at Monroe - appeared in six MLB games with the Mariners in 1978, recording a 4.15 ERA (6 ER in 13.0 IP).
Also returning to The Jack for his third-consecutive season will be hitting coach Alex Pelaez. Now in his 11th year as coach in the Reds' system, the 42-year-old has overseen a Daytona lineup that has registered a .250 clip (2222-8878), scored 1,092 runs, and slammed 175 home runs in his first two campaigns. Before his time in the FSL, Pelaez served as the hitting coach for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos (2014-16), Dayton Dragons (2011-13), and Billings Mustangs (2010). The Chula Vista, Calif. resident was also a hitting instructor for the GCL Reds in 2009 and worked as Team Mexico's hitting coach for the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
A 42nd-round selection of the San Diego Padres back in 1998 out of San Diego State University, Pelaez played eight professional campaigns in both the Padres and Reds organizations. He appeared in three MLB games for San Diego in 2002, going 2-for-8 (.250) at the plate.
Longtime Major Leaguer and pinch-hitting guru Lenny Harris will join Daytona's staff as the squad's bench coach. The 54-year-old enters his third season as a coach in Cincinnati's farm system, spending last season as the bench coach for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos and the year prior in the same position with the Arizona League Reds. Before joining the Reds' player development staff, Harris worked as the Miami Marlins third base coach in 2016, as well as the assistant hitting coach for part of the 2015 season. The Florida native has also spent time as a coach in the Los Angeles Dodgers' minor-league chain - working as the Great Lakes Loons hitting coach in 2011 - in addition to two years as the Washington Nationals hitting coach (2007-08).
During his playing days, Harris spent 18 seasons in the Majors with the Cincinnati Reds, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets, Colorado Rockies, Arizona Diamondbacks, Milwaukee Brewers, Chicago Cubs, and Florida Marlins between 1988 and 2005. In 1,903 career games, the left-handed swinger posted a .269 career average (1055-3924), adding 219 extra-base hits, 37 home runs, and 369 RBI. When he retired after the 2005 season, the 1983 fifth-round selection of Cincinnati was MLB's all-time pinch-hit leader (212).
Ryan Ross takes over as the club's athletic trainer, as he enters his third year in the Reds' system. Ross spent last season in the same capacity with Rookie Greeneville. He also served in the same role in 2016 with Rookie Billings. Prior to joining the Reds' organization, Ross spent a season working in the Los Angeles Angels' player development system. The resident of Brick, N.J. has also served as the primary athletic trainer for the baseball and women's soccer programs at St. John's University and spent a season as an intern with the NFL's New York Jets.
Finally, Trey Strickland will also be spending his first summer in Daytona as the team's strength and conditioning coach. Now in his fifth season with the Cincinnati organization, The Carrollton, Ga. resident has served in the same role the last two seasons with Low-A Dayton and the 2016 campaign with Rookie Billings. Strickland began his tenure in with the Reds in 2015 as the strength and conditioning assistant for the Major League club.
The Daytona Tortugas are the Class A-Advanced Affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds and a member of the Florida State League. The Tortugas play at Jackie Robinson Ballpark in downtown Daytona Beach, Fla. Jackie Robinson Ballpark also plays host to Bethune-Cookman University and many large community events and initiatives throughout the season. The 2019 season is slated for Opening Night on Thursday, April 4th.
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