Bowling Green Hot Rods

Valenzuela Returns, Hot Rods Unveil 2024 Coaching Staff

January 23, 2024 - South Atlantic League (SAL)
Bowling Green Hot Rods News Release

Bowling Green, Kentucky - The Bowling Green Hot Rods, proud High-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays, are excited to announce the coaching staff for the upcoming 2024 season. The staff retains three members from the previous season, returns one coach from the 2021 season, and adds two new faces.

After making his Hot Rods managerial debut, Rafael "Rafy" Valenzuela will take on his second year in Bowling Green. Under his guidance in 2023, the Hot Rods finished with a 69-57 record and boasted the second-best offensive production in the South Atlantic League. Under Valenzuela's watch, Bowling Green finished in third place in the South Division in the first half. They followed with a second-place finish during the second half.

The 36-year-old Nogales, Arizona native is spending his second season in Bowling Green after making stops as the manager for the 2019 Gulf Coast League Rays and 2021 and 2022 Florida Complex League Rays. As a player, Valenzuela was drafted in the 25th round of the 2006 Amateur Draft by the Kansas City Royals but elected to play at Cochise College in 2007 and shortly after transferred to the University of Arizona. He signed with the Houston Astros as a free agent in 2010 and played four seasons in the MiLB as a left fielder and corner infielder.

Perry Roth joins the Hot Rods staff as the bench coach for the upcoming season. He spent last year as the hitting coach with the Charleston RiverDogs. Roth has a plentiful amount of coaching experience, spending 20 years coaching at the collegiate level with Birmingham Southern, Illinois State, and most recently as the interim head coach at the University of Alabama Birmingham.

Jim Paduch returns to the Hot Rods staff after spending last season as a Minor League Pitching Coordinator for the Rays. He spent 2021 as the Hot Rods pitching coach before making a stop at the same position for the Double-A Montgomery Biscuits in 2022. As a player, Paduch was drafted in the 12th round of the 2003 Amateur draft by the Cincinnati Reds out of Concordia University Chicago. He enjoyed an 11-year playing career as a pitcher between the MiLB and independent leagues.

In just his second year in the Rays organization, Braxton Martinez will take over as the Hot Rods hitting coach. During his first season, he served as a seasonal development coach in the FCL. Before coaching, Martinez played collegiately at St. Louis University, primarily starting at third base. He spent four seasons in the Frontier League and served as a player/coach for the 2019 River City Rascals. Martinez signed a minor league free agent contract with the Los Angeles Angels in 2019 and played two seasons in their system before joining the Rays in a coaching capacity.

Ruben Santiago rejoins the Hot Rods for his second year as the athletic trainer. This will be his ninth season as an athletic trainer within the Rays system. During the 2023 World Baseball Classic, Santiago joined Nicaragua as their athletic trainer. His other stops in the Rays system include Charleston in 2022, the FCL Rays in 2021, as well as the Princeton Rays for three seasons and two years with the GCL Rays.

The final of four returners to the staff, Garrett Hudson will stay on as the Hot Rods strength and conditioning coach. He spent 2023 in Bowling Green after spending 2022 with the FCL Rays. Before joining the Rays system, he was a performance coach in New Hampshire for Wasserman Strength. Hudson earned his master's degree in exercise science from Merrimack College.

The first chance to see the 2024 coaching staff and Hot Rods in action is Opening Day, April 5, against the Hudson Valley Renegades. You can secure your seats by visiting the Bowling Green Ballpark Ticket Office, going to, or calling (270) 901-2121.

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