Former Greensboro Grasshoppers skipper Edwin Rodriguez(Greensboro 2007-2008) has been named the manager of the Florida Marlins for the 2011 Major League Baseball season…..Edwin took over the club in 2010 and has been waiting to see what the Marlins were going to do with him for next year….Edwin Rodriguez will return as the bossman and also coming back are another former Greensboro manager Brandon Hyde and coach Joe Espada, plus roving Marlins’ hitting instructor John Mallee, who spent many a day here in Greensboro over the past several seasons….The crew of Rodriguez, Hyde, Mallee and Espada are back, for another tour of duty in South Florida with the Marlins….
After a month-long wait, the Marlins officially announced on Wednesday that Edwin Rodriguez will be back.
The 50-year-old, who replaced Fredi Gonzalez in June and made history by becoming the Major Leagues’ first Puerto Rican-born manager, agreed to a one-year contract extension.
The Marlins waited one day after the World Series ended to select their manager and put together a coaching staff. The main new addition will be Perry Hill as infield and first-base coach. Five coaches will return.
For months, Rodriguez noted that he wished he would have a chance to manage a big league team from the start of Spring Training. Now, he will have that opportunity.
“First, I think we can go back to basics and develop that winning attitude, starting in Spring Training,” Rodriguez said during a conference call. “We have a very, very young team. But it’s also very talented.
“They have accomplished a lot of individual awards, like batting championships. We have a batting champion. We have an ERA champion. We have a Rookie of the Year. We have the only second baseman in the Major Leagues who has had 30 home runs or more in four consecutive seasons. But I think this team hasn’t grown as a team yet.”
The Marlins are expected to return the core of their 2010 squad that finished 80-82 and in third place in the National League East. Rodriguez points out that there are talented players in the system on the verge of making the leap in the standings.
Hanley Ramirez was the 2009 NL batting champion. Josh Johnson won the NL ERA title this season. Dan Uggla is the only second baseman in big league history to have four straight seasons with 30 or more home runs. Ramirez and Chris Coghlan have each won NL Rookie of the Year honors.
“The challenge of all the staff is we have to develop that accountability as a team,” Rodriguez said. “We’re going to set a very high expectation as a team. And as a staff, we have to enforce that teamwork in Spring Training.”
In 2010, the Marlins made 123 errors, the fifth most in the Major Leagues.
News broke on Tuesday that Rodriguez was being offered the Marlins’ job, shortly after the Nationals announced their coaching staff had included Bo Porter, who will be Washington’s third-base coach.
Porter also was up for the Florida job.
Rodriguez traveled from his home in Puerto Rico to meet with team owner Jeffrey Loria in New York on Tuesday. They talked for almost three hours before he returned to San Juan.
“We are very excited to announce that Edwin has been extended and will be our manager in 2011,” Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said. “The coaching staff also coming back, with the addition of Perry Hill, who we believe is, if not the best, one of the best infield coaches in baseball. We’ve enjoyed his work in the past. We welcome him back. We think that he will have a great impact on our infielders.”
Hill, 58, is no stranger to the Marlins. He was with the organization from 2002-06, and is regarded as one of the best infield instructors in the game. During his first stint with Florida, his infielders combined to win five Gold Glove Awards.
Hill also brings championship experience. He was on the staff of Florida’s 2003 World Series title team.
Along with Hill, the Marlins are retaining pitching coach Randy St. Claire, hitting coach John Mallee, bench coach Brandon Hyde, third-base coach Joe Espada and bullpen coach Reid Cornelius. Jeffrey Urgelles will take on the bullpen-coordinator role in a full-time capacity.