The Tacoma Rainiers have a manager. On Wednesday afternoon, Mariners minor league director of operations Chris Gwynn announced that Roy Howell will manage the organization’s Class AAA team this season.
“Roy is a very accomplished baseball guy, both as a player and as a coach,” Gwynn said in a press release. “He is well respected in our organization for the work he has done the past two years. His expertise in hitting and his familiarity with many of the players we will have at Tacoma make him a great fit for us at that level.”
Howell replaces Rich Donnelly, who was originally hired to manage the Rainiers. Donnelly was promoted to the major league staff to coach third base after John Stearns, who managed the Rainiers for most of last season, decided to step down because of health reasons related to surgery for a hiatal hernia.
Howell was originally slated to be the hitting coach Class AA Jackson this season. No decision has been made for Howell’s replacement in Jackson.
The past two seasons Howell had been hitting coach in hitter-friendly High Desert. The Mavericks hit a .289 as a team last season and scored 827 runs. In 2012, the Mavericks set franchise-highs in nearly every offensive category, including average, hits, RBI and runs scored.
Howell started his coaching career with the Padres organization in 2000, spending six seasons in the minor league system as a coach. He managerial experience consists of four years with the San Luis Rattlers in the California Collegiate League from 2007-10 and the 2011 season as the manager for the Road Warriors travel team in the independent Atlantic League.
Howell played in parts of 11 big league seasons as an infielder, including stints with the Texas Rangers (1974-77), Milwaukee Brewers (1977-80) and the Toronto Blue Jays (1981-84). He has a career .261 batting average, 80 home runs and 454 RBI in 1,112 games. He was an American League All-Star and Toronto’s team MVP in 1978. He also was a member of the Brewers squad in the 1982 World Series.