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Joe Alvarez takes reins of Renegades

December 12, 2007 - New York-Penn League (NYPL) - Hudson Valley Renegades News Release

Fishkill, NY - The Tampa Bay Rays have announced the on-field coaching staff for the 2008 Hudson Valley Renegades. Joe Alvarez will be taking over manager for the Renegades and joining him on the bench will be Pitching Coach Rafael Montalvo, the lone returning coach from the 2007 staff, along with new Bench Coaches Jared Sandberg and Michael Johns.

Fans will notice a new manager at the helm for the Renegades this season; Cuban-born Alvarez will be taking over for former Manager Matt Quatraro. Last season Alvarez was the base running and hitting instructor for the Lakewood Blueclaws, Philadelphia Phillies Single-A. Under Alvarez the Blueclaws led the Phillies organization in stolen bases (177). Prior to coaching with the Blueclaws he was the hitting coach for the Batavia Muckdogs, Short-Season A.

Alvarez, 52-years-old, has been around professional baseball since 1974 when he played for the Yankees (1974-75) organization. Alvarez played for two other organizations, Astros (1976) and Orioles (1977), before ending his playing career in 1977. In 1978 he started his coaching career in the Baltimore farm system. He spent two seasons with the Baltimore organization before moving onto coach in the Dodgers farm system. Alvarez got his managerial start with Sarasota, Single-A team for the Dodgers, where he led the team to one championship (1987). After managing for Sarasota he moved onto Vero Beach where he managed for two seasons and brought home another championship (1990).

Joining the coaching staff will be former Renegades player Jared Sandberg. Sandberg played most of the 1998 season at the hot corner for the Renegades racking up a .288 batting average (78-for-271), with 15 doubles, 15 homeruns and 54 RBI. This will be Sandberg's first coaching position as he spent the last 12 years playing professional baseball

Sandberg, 29-years-old, started his professional baseball career in 1996, when he was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 16th round of the June Draft. Sandberg got his first taste of the majors on Aug. 7th, 2001. He spent the rest of the '01 season with the Rays and than split the '02 and '03 seasons between Triple-A Durham and Tampa Bay. He still holds the Rays all-time minor league records for homeruns (113), RBI (473) and runs scored (417). Sandberg is the nephew of Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg, who played for the Chicago Cubs from 1982-1997.

The second Renegades bench coach will be Michael Johns, 33-years-old. Johns graduated from Tulane University where he was a two-time Conference USA, all-conference shortstop. After having success at the colligate level Johns was drafted by the Colorado Rockies 19th overall in the 1997 June Draft. Johns spent two years with the Rockies Single-A teams, Asheville, N.C. and Portland, Ore. During his time in the minors he slugged five homeruns, two doubles and 36 RBI.

After his professional baseball career, as a player, was over he ventured to Fernandina Beach (Fla.) High School where he spent four years as the assistant baseball coach. He than landed a head-coaching job at Orange Park (Fla.) High School. Johns has been the head baseball coach for Orange Park High School for the past four years. During his tenure at Orange Park High School he lead the baseball team to a 50-55 record. This will be Johns first professional coaching job.

Coming back to join the Renegades coaching staff will be Pitching Coach Rafael Montalvo. Montalvo will be coming back for his second consecutive season with the Renegades; he was the Renegades pitching coach from 2002-'04 and then re-joined the team in 2007. Montalvo has been a coach at the professional level for the past nine years, all with the Tampa Bay Rays organization. Under Montalvo's tutelage the 2004 Renegades pitching staff earned a 3.01 ERA, which placed the 'Gades second for the lowest team ERA in all the minor leagues.

Montalvo started his professional baseball career with the Dodgers organization back in 1980. He spent the majority of his professional player career with the Dodgers but enjoyed stints with the Astros (1986-'88) and the Angels (1990-'91) farm clubs. His lone major league experience came in 1986 with the Houston Astros.

Jeff Dill will be returning for his second year as the Renegades trainer.

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