Fresno Grizzlies – The San Francisco Giants announced today that Bob Mariano will be the new manager of the Fresno Grizzlies in 2012. Pitching coach Pat Rice will return for his fourth season in the Central Valley, as will Russ Morman for his second year as hitting coach. The Grizzlies staff will have two more new faces, as athletic trainer Eric Ortega and strength and conditioning coach Yousef Zamat will also join the team for the first time.
Mariano is entering his eighth season in the Giants organization and his 33rd overall in professional baseball. Prior to joining San Francisco as the club’s coordinator of minor league hitting instruction in 2005, Mariano worked as both a hitting coordinator and manager in the Dodgers organization from 2002-04. He has also spent time with the Baltimore Orioles, New York Yankees, Milwaukee Brewers and Arizona Diamondbacks organizations throughout his coaching career. Mariano has managed at several different levels of minor league ball, including the 1997 season with Triple-A Tucson in the Pacific Coast League. As a player, Mariano spent seven years in the minor leagues with the Yankees and Orioles.
Rice enters his fourth year guiding the Grizzlies pitching staff, and fifth overall in the Giants organization. He spent the prior 13 years in the Seattle Mariners organization, including eight seasons as the club’s minor league pitching coordinator. Rice logged seven games (two starts) as a Major League pitcher with the Mariners and did not allow a run in his first 13.0 innings of work, setting a club record for scoreless innings to begin a career.
Morman returns to the Central Valley for his second year as hitting coach. He served in the same capacity at Double-A Richmond in 2010. Before he joined the Giants organization, the Independence, Missouri native spent six years as a hitting coach in the Boston Red Sox farm system, split between Double-A Portland (ME) and Triple-A Pawtucket. Prior to coaching, Morman played parts of nine Major League seasons as a first baseman and outfielder with the Chicago White Sox, Kansas City Royals and Florida Marlins.
Ortega is entering his seventh season in the Giants organization and his first as athletic trainer here in Fresno. The CSU-Sacramento grad worked at the Double-A level the last three seasons, and has also spent time at Low-A Augusta (2008) and in Rookie Ball (2006-07). Ortega is certified the National Athletic Trainers’ Association and lives in nearby Watsonville, CA in the offseason.
Zamat joins the Grizzlies as strength and conditioning coach for the first time after spending the last two years in the Giants organization with the San Jose Giants (2011) and the Augusta GreenJackets (2010). Zamat also served in the same role for two years apiece in both the Detroit Tigers and the Los Angeles Dodgers farm systems. He owns a Master’s Degree in Exercise Physiology from Northern Illinois University and has a certification from the National Strength & Conditioning Association.
The Fresno Grizzlies open their 2012 home season against the Tacoma Rainiers on Friday, April 13th.