Rangers hire Molina to round out 2014 staff
Former Texas backstop to serve as first-base coach, instruct catchers
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have hired former Major League catcher Bengie Molina as their first-base coach. Molina, who won two Gold Gloves during his 13-year Major League career, will also instruct the catchers.
Bobby Jones, who has spent 24 years as a manager in the Rangers' farm system, is also rejoining the Major League staff as assistant hitting coach. Clubs were allowed a seventh coach as of last season. Former Rangers manager Toby Harrah had the same job in 2013 with the Tigers.
Molina played for the Rangers over the final three months of the 2010 season after being acquired from the Giants in a trade on July 1. He was their starting catcher during their run to the 2010 American League pennant before losing to the Giants in the World Series. He was also the Angels' starting catcher when they won the World Series in 2002.
"He's a winner," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He commands respect. He is able to assist in all areas of the game. I think he'll make a difference, not only with the catching and as first-base coach, but the respect he brings and the knowledge he has in the game -- he will be able to relay that in every area. He brings a lot."
Molina's most memorable moment with the Rangers came on July 16, when he hit for the cycle against the Red Sox at Fenway Park, including a grand slam. The triple he hit in that game was one of just six during his career.
Molina spent last season as the Cardinals' assistant hitting coach. It was his first job in the Major Leagues since retiring after the '10 season. He is the older brother of Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina and Rays catcher Jose Molina, who is currently a free agent.
"Jose is a good candidate, but everybody knows Brian McCann is out there," Molina said. "I don't know what his health is or how big his contract will be. ... He's probably the main guy. I haven't had a chance to look at the free-agent catchers."
Molina viewed this job as a promotion over what he was doing with the Cardinals, and he admitted he has aspirations of one day being a Major League manager.
"But I'm not looking for that right now," Molina said. "I want to see how I can help the catching, teaching, hitting, baserunning, whatever I can do to help. If you are a coach, you always have managing inside your head, but I'm not looking for that right now.
"The Cardinals are a great organization, but they have all their positions settled. They already proved they are a good team. What I was doing there was not so high up. This is more in line with what I want to do. Hopefully, being a first-base coach is way higher than assistant hitting coach, and this is a chance to move up."
Jones, who served in the United States Army during the Vietnam War and received a Bronze Medal for bravery while in an artillery unit, was a coach for the Rangers in 2000-01 and again in '06. He has a Minor League managerial record of 1,656-1,621, with 12 playoff berths. He was originally drafted by the Washington Senators in 1967 and made his Major League debut with the Rangers in '74. Seven of his nine Major League seasons were with the Rangers.
"Bobby Jones has been a long-term asset to the Texas Rangers, and now we get to use his assets at the Major League level," Washington said.
The Rangers are expected to announce their Minor League staff later this week. Double-A Frisco manager Steve Buechele is expected to replace Jones at Triple-A Round Rock.
The Rangers also announced that longtime trainer Jamie Reid has been appointed senior director of medical operations. His assistant, Kevin Harmon, has been promoted to head trainer. Harmon is entering his 10th season with the Rangers.
"Jamie has been a right-hand man and confidant of [general manager] Jon Daniels in the front office, and his expertise is something we've tapped into the past few years," assistant general manager Thad Levine said. "This finalizes it. Kevin has done an excellent job for us in the care and injury-prevention of our players, and this is a well-deserved promotion."
These moves complete the Rangers' coaching staff for 2014. Tim Bogar was hired last month as bench coach, joining a staff that includes pitching coach Mike Maddux, hitting coach Dave Magadan, third-base coach Gary Pettis and bullpen coach Andy Hawkins.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.