By JOSH VITALE, SunCoast Sports
PORT CHARLOTTE — Kevin Cash’s first bench coach will be a familiar face.
The Tampa Bay Rays announced their 2015 coaching staff on Friday, promoting long-time third base coach Tom Foley to be the bench coach. Triple-A Durham manager Charlie Montoyo will replace Foley as third base coach, and former player and special assistant to baseball operations Rocco Baldelli will serve as first base coach.
Former first base coach George Hendricks accepted a position as special advisor to baseball operations.
“I feel very fortunate to have inherited a staff that is both respected throughout baseball and knowledgeable of our players and the culture,” Cash said in a statement. “I am thrilled to have Tom as our bench coach. I have great respect for the role he has played in the organization from its inception and will lean on him for his experience and judgment.
“In adding Charlie and Rocco, we have two men who combined have more than 30 years invested in this organization at many different levels and have great familiarity with our players. Both have meant a great deal to the Rays, and I am grateful they will be joining (pitching coach Jim Hickey), (hitting coach Derek Shelton), (major league coach Jamie Nelson) and (bullpen coach Stan Boroski) for what I feel is a great team.”
Foley, 55, is the longest-tenured coach in franchise history, having spent 14 years with the Rays, 20th in the organization and 39th in professional baseball. He becomes the Rays’ eighth bench coach.
Montoyo, 50, makes his debut on the major league staff after spending the past eight years as the manager in Durham, where he is the all-time winningest manager. He fits the role as a spanish-speaking coach the Rays lost when former Dave Martinez joined Joe Maddon in Chicago.
Baldelli, 33, becomes the youngest major league coach in Rays history. The former first-round draft pick spent the last four years working in the Rays front office after retiring from baseball after the 2010 season.
Montoyo’s promotion creates a void to fill in Durham, which could lead to a shuffling of coaches at the minor-league level. Charlotte Stone Crabs manager Jared Sandberg could be a candidate to replace Montoyo with the Bulls, as could former Stone Crabs and current Double-A Montgomery manager Brady Williams.
Follow Josh on Twitter @JoshVitale