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Combination of Youth & Experience Marks 2021 RiverDogs Coaching Staff



By: RiverDogs Media

The Tampa Bay Rays announced their minor league coaching assignments on Monday afternoon. The RiverDogs’ new manager, Blake Butera, will have plenty of organizational experience on his coaching staff to lead the 2021 squad.

Steve Watson will serve as Pitching coach for the ‘Dogs. He and Conditioning coach James McCallie were both assigned to the Charlotte Stone Crabs for 2020. Wuarnner Rincones is the new Hitting coach for Charleston. Coach Sean Smedley will also join Butera’s staff, moving up the A-ball level from formerly-Rookie level Princeton. Rounding out the staff announcement is Tsutomu Kamiya, Athletic trainer.

Watson spent more than half a decade with the Stone Crabs, guiding more than two dozen players to the MLB, including future Cy Young winner Blake Snell. Prior to his time with the Rays, he spent 12 years with the Pittsburgh Pirates, five with the Baltimore Orioles and three with the Miami Marlins.

Rincones coached with the Princeton Rays in two stints, from 2010-11 and 2016-19, with time on with the GCL Rays from 2012-15. He was set to be a part of Butera’s staff with Bowling Green in 2020.

“This is a well-regarded group of coaches that are very knowledgeable in all areas of the game,” said Butera on Monday. “I am extremely fortunate to be surrounded by this group. They will do a tremendous job in the development of our players.”

Butera, 28, enters his seventh season in professional baseball, fourth in a coaching capacity and third as a manager. He spent the 2018-19 seasons managing Short-A Hudson Valley, leading the Renegades to a combined 88-62 record and a playoff berth in both seasons. He began his coaching career as Hudson Valley’s first base coach in 2017 and assisted with extended spring training in 2018 ahead of the New York-Penn League season. He was selected by the Rays in the 35th round of the 2015 Amateur Draft out of Boston College and appeared in a total of 80 minor league games over two seasons.

RiverDogs open the season at The Joe on May 4th, as part of an all-new league. Flexible ticket plans, including options to the Segra Club, are now available at the RiverDogs website or by contacting the RiverDogs front office at 843-577-3647 (DOGS).

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