Colorado Rockies Finalize, Announce 2017 Coaching Staff
By Kevin Henry
With new manager Bud Black in place, the Colorado Rockies have finalized their coaching staff for the 2017 season.
The staff, with each position identified, was announced on Thursday morning. They are…
Manager: Bud Black*
Bench Coach: Mike Redmond*
Pitching Coach: Steve Foster
Hitting Coach: Duane Espy*
Assistant Hitting Coach: Jeff Salazar*
Bullpen Coach: Darren Holmes
Third Base Coach: Stu Cole
First Base Coach: Tony Diaz*
Coach: Ron Gideon*
* indicates new to the staff in 2017
Cole, 50, will return as the Rockies third base coach, his fifth season in that position and his 22nd season overall in the Rockies organization. Prior to joining the Major League staff, Cole was the manager at Triple-A Colorado Springs (2009-12), Double-A Tulsa (2006-09), High-A Salem/Visalia/Modesto (2002-05) and Short-Season Tri-City (2001).
Foster, 50, will return as the Rockies pitching coach. In 2016, the Rockies pitching staff recorded 1,223 strikeouts, the second-most in franchise history, to go along with a 2.19 strikeout-to-walk ratio, the best mark in franchise history. The 2017 season will be his third with Colorado and his ninth on a Major League coaching staff after serving as the bullpen coach for the Kansas City Royals (2010-12) and the Miami Marlins (2007-09).
Holmes, 50, will return for this third season as the Rockies bullpen coach. Prior to joining the Rockies, he spent the 2014 season as the Atlanta Braves’ biomechanics pitching consultant. Holmes was drafted by the Rockies from the Brewers in the fifth round of the 1992 expansion draft and was a member of the Rockies inaugural Opening Day roster in 1993. His 46 saves rank sixth in franchise history.
Now to the newcomers. Among Diaz, Espy, Gideon and Salazar, there are a combined 81 years of professional coaching experience, including 53 years of coaching in the Rockies organization.
The 39-year-old Diaz will join his first Major League coaching staff in 2017 after 17 seasons as a Minor League coach or supervisor. Diaz served as the supervisor of development with Rookie Level Grand Junction from 2013 through 2016 after spending the previous six seasons as the manager of the Rookie Level club (Casper from 2007-11 and Grand Junction in 2012). His body of work in the Rookie Level Pioneer League earned him induction into the league’s Hall of Fame in 2013. Prior to his role as manager, Diaz served as the hitting coach for Casper from 2001 through 2006 and was named Colorado’s Player Development “Man of the Year” in 2002. Diaz also assists in the Rockies Dominican Instructional League and wrote the manual Practical English for Latin Players to help Latin baseball players diminish their language barrier.
Espy, 64, will serve as the Rockies hitting coach for the second time in his career after originally filling the role for four seasons under Manager Clint Hurdle from 2003 through 2006. The Aberdeen, Wash., native transitions back to the Major League coaching staff after most recently serving as the Rockies’ Minor League Hitting Coordinator the past two seasons (2015-16). Espy has also worked in the Rockies organization as the supervisor of development for Short-Season Tri-City (2014) and Double-A Tulsa (2013), manager of Double-A Tulsa (2011-12), hitting coach for High-A Modesto (2008-2010) and hitting coach for Rookie Level Casper (2007).
Prior to joining the Rockies in 2003, Espy served as the hitting coach for the San Diego Padres for two and a half seasons (2000-2003) under manager Bruce Bochy, his first career stint on a Major League staff after serving as a Minor League manager, coach and instructor for 21 years with the Padres, Giants and Brewers.
Gideon, 52, will enter his 21st season in the Rockies organization, his 26th as a professional coach and his first as a member of a Major League coaching staff. The Tyler, Texas, native has spent the past four seasons as a supervisor of development after serving the previous five seasons as a roving field coordinator (2008-12) and as the manager of Double-A Tulsa (2009-10). In 2014, as the Double-A supervisor of development, Gideon was named the winner of the P.J. Carey Player Development Award, given to the top player development coach in the Rockies system. During his tenure with the Rockies, Gideon has also managed Double-A Carolina (2000-01), High-A Salem (1999), Low-A Asheville (1997-98) and Short-Season Portland (1996). Prior to joining the Rockies, Gideon spent 10 years in the New York Mets organization, five as a player, including coaching stints with Double-A Binghamton and High-A St. Lucie.
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Salazar, 36, will join his first Major League coaching staff after serving as the hitting coach with Double-A Hartford for the past two seasons, his first coaching stint with a Major League organization. Originally drafted by the Rockies in the eighth round of the 2002 First-Year Player Draft out of Oklahoma State University, Salazar was named the Rockies Organizational Player of the Year in 2003 and made his Major League debut for the Rockies on Sept. 7, 2006. In his Major League career, Salazar played a total of 168 games in parts of four Major League seasons with Colorado (2006), Arizona (2007-08) and Pittsburgh (2009). The outfielder’s last Minor League season came in 2012 with Triple-A Durham in the Tampa Bay Rays organization.
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Redmond, 45, was named as the Rockies bench coach on November 16 after previously serving as the manager for the Miami Marlins from 2013 to 2015. The Spokane, Wash., native began his managerial career in 2011 as the manager of Low-A Lansing (Toronto Blue Jays affiliate) in his first season following his retirement as a player. Redmond played parts of 13 Major League seasons with the Marlins (1998-2004), Twins (2005-09) and Indians (2010) and won a World Series with the Marlins in 2003.