The Bowling Green Hot Rods, in conjunction with the Tampa Bay Rays, announced their coaching staff for the 2020 season Monday.

Manager Blake Butera will lead an entirely new coaching staff in Bowling Green, joined by pitching coach Jim Paduch with coaches Wuarnner Rincones and Skeeter Barnes. The club’s conditioning coach will be Jordan Brown. Brian Newman will return for his third season as the Hot Rods’ athletic trainer.

“We’re excited to have virtually a whole new staff in Bowling Green this season,” Hot Rods GM/COO Eric C. Leach said in a news release. “This group has a proven track record of winning and developing talent, a lot of which we’ve seen here over the past few years.”

“We wish Rei (Ruiz) and his staff well and thank them for everything they’ve accomplished over the past few seasons. We’re really looking forward to welcoming in our new field staff and getting the 2020 season started,” Leach said.

Butera, 27, becomes the seventh manager in Hot Rods’ history. After two seasons managing the Hudson Valley Renegades (New York-Penn League) with a 91-66 record, Butera will be the youngest manager in club history by three years (the previous youngest was Brady Williams at 30 years old in 2010). Butera took the Renegades to the postseason in both years as manager of the team, including an appearance in the 2018 New York-Penn League Championship series. He was also the youngest manager among stateside minor league teams in both his first and second seasons.

Prior to being a manager, Butera was a rotating manager for the Rays during extended spring training in 2018. He also served as the first base coach for former Hot Rods manager Craig Albernaz with the Princeton Rays during the 2017 season. Butera played two seasons in the Rays minor league system after being taken in the 35th round of the 2015 draft out of Boston College. He played 76 of his 80 career games for Princeton, the other four were with Hudson Valley, and hit .235 with three homers and 31 RBIs.

Paduch, the Hot Rods’ 2020 pitching coach, will take over for Brian Reith after two seasons. Paduch spent 2018 and 2019 on the Princeton Rays coaching staff after spending 11 years as a player in professional baseball. Paduch played parts of three seasons in the Rays system with Montgomery and Durham. He spent the first part of his career with the Cincinnati Reds after being taken in the 12th round of the 2003 amateur draft.

Rincones and Barnes join the Hot Rods as coaches for 2020. Rincones returns to the Midwest League as a coach after playing 20 games with South Bend in 1995. Rincones spent four seasons (2012-2015) as the GCL Rays hitting coach, as well as six other seasons (including last year) as the hitting coach for the Princeton Rays.

Barnes, 62, joins the Hot Rods after spending more than a decade as the Rays’ outfield and baserunning coordinator. Barnes managed the Southwest Michigan Devil Rays (a former member of the Midwest League) in 2006 and the Lakeland Tigers (Florida State League) in 2000. Other coaching stops include the Toledo Mud Hens, West Michigan Whitecaps, Indianapolis Indians, Orlando Rays and Montgomery Biscuits. Barnes enjoyed a successful playing career, logging more than 350 MLB games with the Reds, Tigers, Expos and Cardinals. His number (00) was retired by the Nashville Sounds in the early 1990s.

Brown enters his second season with Tampa Bay and takes over as the Hot Rods’ conditioning coach. Brown spent two seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals in a similar capacity with the Johnson City Cardinals (2016) and State College Spikes (2017). Brown also filled in for the Hot Rods late in the 2019 season into the playoffs.

Newman returns for his third season as the Hot Rods’ athletic trainer. Newman, the last member of the 2018 Midwest League championship field staff, begins his ninth season with the Tampa Bay Rays after coming to Bowling Green in 2018 following three seasons with Hudson Valley.

The Hot Rods’ 2020 season kicks off with a homestand featuring six games over seven days at Bowling Green Ballpark, beginning April 9 against the Fort Wayne TinCaps.{&end}

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