10/15/2003 5:20 PM ET
Showalter sticks with coaching staff
Smith, Hershiser, Wakamatsu and Jaramillo to return
By Jesse Sanchez / MLB.com
Buck Showalter (left) chats with starting pitcher Chan Ho Park early in the 2003 season. (Tony Gutierrez/AP)
ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Buck Showalter has never been one to blame his coaching staff.
He is not starting now.
On Wednesday, Showalter announced that he is bringing back his entire coaching staff from last season because of its hard work and the fact that he wants pitching coach Orel Hershiser, bullpen coach Mark Connor, bench coach Don Wakamatsu, first-base coach DeMarlo Hale, third-base coach Steve Smith and hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo to reap the rewards of their effort in 2003.
Continuity in the organization was also a major factor, the manager said. The Rangers finished in fourth place in the American League West for the fourth consecutive season in 2003.
"I have been in all of their shoes and I know how difficult their jobs are," said Showalter, who is in Arizona in meetings and watching prospects with most of his staff. "We are not blaming coaches. That's an easy way out and we are not going to do that."
Showalter, who quit his job as the manager of the Yankees after the 1995 season because owner George Steinbrenner wanted him to fire two coaches, stressed the importance of such a decision. The impact his coaches have in 2004 will play a big role in the development of the players in the organization for years to come.
"I came in and they allowed me to do whatever I wanted with the coaching staff," Showalter said. "I did not have a real relationship other than from afar with Steve Smith, Orel, Rudy or DeMarlo. I took a year to get to know them and I feel good about bringing them back. [Owner Tom Hicks and general manager John Hart] left it all up to me and I decided to bring them all back."
Showalter said he made up his mind quickly, but spent the last two weeks meeting with each coach, discussing how to improve in 2004. The manager also wanted the opinion of Hicks, Hart, and assistant GM Grady Fuson before making any type of formal announcement on his "well-rounded coaches."
"I am very comfortable with their philosophies," Showalter said of his coaches.
In the meantime, Showalter and his staff are already hard at work. Smith, Hershiser, Wakamatsu and Jaramillo have worked with players in the Arizona Fall League and Instructional League. Connor is expected in Arizona next week.
"We have to see and be seen," Showalter said. "We all have jobs dependent on everybody else."
Also, Oklahoma RedHawks manager Bobby Jones and his entire staff will return to Texas' Triple-A Pacific Coast League affiliate in 2004. Double-A Frisco manager Tim Ireland and his staff will also return in 2004.
Rangers, Mahay agree to terms:The Rangers and left-handed pitcher Ron Mahay have agreed to terms on a one-year contract for 2004.
No further terms were disclosed.
Mahay was 3-3 with a 3.18 ERA in 35 relief appearances with Texas in 2003, setting career highs for games, innings with 45.1/3 and strikeouts with 38. He opened the season at Triple-A Oklahoma, going 4-2 with a 4.22 ERA and three saves in 26 appearances, before joining the Rangers on June 26. He worked 12 1/3 scoreless innings in his first eight appearances with Texas, the longest scoreless streak ever by a pitcher at the start of his Rangers career.
Sticking with the coacking staff and keeping a pitcher.