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Rodriguez to Return as Spikes Manager in 2016

January 12, 2016 - New York-Penn League (NYPL) - State College Spikes News Release

State College Spikes Manager Johnny Rodriguez
State College Spikes Manager Johnny Rodriguez
(State College Spikes)

(STATE COLLEGE, PA) - The St. Louis Cardinals have announced the State College Spikes coaching staff for the 2016 season. Johnny Rodriguez, who led the Spikes to their third consecutive 40-win season last year, will once again serve as the club's manager. Hitting coach Roger LaFrancois and pitching coach Darwin Marrero will also return to the Spikes bench this season.

Joining the Spikes' staff will be first-year coach C.J. Beatty and athletic trainer Chris Whitman. The Spikes' strength and conditioning coach for the upcoming season will be named at a later date.

Rodriguez directed the Spikes to a 41-35 record in 2015, which was good for a third-place finish in the New York-Penn League Pinckney Division. The Spikes also ended the season just one game out of the NYPL playoffs.

A native of Miami, Rodriguez nearly skippered his second straight championship team, as he led the Rookie-level Johnson City Cardinals to the 2014 Appalachian League title. With over 25 years of professional experience, Rodriguez will seek to develop a new squad of Spikes this upcoming summer.

LaFrancois comes back to State College after helping to guide Casey Grayson to the fourth-best batting average (.308) in the NYPL last season. Grayson also notched 77 hits to lead the league, and his .414 on-base percentage ranked second in the NYPL. The former Red Sox catcher also brings back over 25 years of professional coaching experience.

Marrero mentored a pitching staff that issued a league-low 164 walks last season and racked up nine shutouts to lead the NYPL. The native Venezuelan also helped develop right-hander Pedro Echemendia in his first season of American pro ball. Echemendia posted 12 saves to tie a club record while also leading the Spikes with six wins.

Beatty rejoins the Cardinals organization after playing at three different levels in 2009 and 2010. A native of Winston-Salem, NC, Beatty also played in his hometown for the Advanced-A affiliate of the White Sox in 2014-15. The 27-year-old traveled around the word in a seven-year playing career, including stints with the Brisbane Bandits of the Australian Baseball League in 2012 and 2014.

Whitman comes to the Spikes after three years as Athletic Trainer for Rookie-level Johnson City, where he served with Rodriguez during the 2014 title campaign. He replaces Dan Martin, who moves up to Advanced-A Palm Beach after earning the 2015 New York-Penn League Trainer of the Year Award from the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (PBATS).

The Spikes begin the 2016 home slate on Saturday, June 18, when they take on the Williamsport Crosscutters (Philadelphia Phillies) on Opening Night, presented by PSECU. Season tickets, McDonald's Flex Books and group outings for all 38 home games during the 2016 season are currently available by calling (814) 272-1711. More information can be found at

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State College Spikes Manager Johnny Rodriguez
State College Spikes Manager Johnny Rodriguez


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