Tacoma Rainiers Name John Russell Manager for 2023 Season

John Russell, a former MLB catcher/outfielder and field manager, has been named Tacoma Rainiers manager for 2023 by the Seattle Mariners.  Russell, 62, becomes the 12th skipper of the club in the “Rainiers” era and Seattle affiliation (since 1995), and brings a wealth of experience at the highest levels to the position.  The upcoming season will be Russell’s first with the Mariners organization.

  The 2023 home opener at Cheney Stadium is scheduled for Tuesday, April 4 at 6:05 p.m. PT.  Individual tickets for all 2023 home games will go on sale Wednesday, February 15 at 10 a.m., at TacomaRainiers.com. 

Russell was most recently baseball technical director at IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL (since 2019).  His professional coaching resume includes bench coach of the Baltimore Orioles (2011-18), and he managed the Pittsburgh Pirates for three seasons (2008-10).  During his time in Baltimore, he helped the Orioles to three postseason appearances, including advancing to the 2014 American League Championship Series.  Russell’s first stint in Pittsburgh and on a MLB staff was from 2003-05, as Pittsburgh’s third base coach.  He’s managed 10 minor league seasons dating to 1995, in the Minnesota Twins and Philadelphia Phillies organizations.

2023 will be Russell’s return to both a Triple-A dugout and the Pacific Coast League.  In 2001 and 2002 he led the Edmonton Trappers (Minnesota), and skippered the ’02 club to an 81-59 regular season record and the PCL Championship.  He led Philadelphia Triple-A affiliates in the International League in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and then Ottawa from 2006-07; his ’06 SWB club qualified for the postseason with an 84-58 record.

As a player, Russell was a professional from 1982 through 1994, appearing in 10 Major League seasons with Philadelphia (1984-88), Atlanta (1989) and Texas (1990-93).  A veteran of nearly 1,000 professional games played, Russell appeared in a MLB career-high 93 games for the 1986 Phillies (13 HR, 60 RBI).  He was Philadelphia’s first round draft pick in 1982 (13th overall), following three seasons at the University of Oklahoma.  On June 11, 1990, Russell caught Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan’s sixth career no-hitter, as the Texas Rangers won 5-0 in Oakland.

Born in Oklahoma City and a native of Norman, OK, Russell will make his Rainiers debut while managing in his home state.  Tacoma opens the 2023 season at the OKC Dodgers on Friday, March 31.

Brad Marcelino, Hitting Coach:  One of two returnees from Tacoma’s 2022 coaching staff, Brad Marcelino enters his second season with the Mariners and Rainiers following several years as a private hitting instructor and consultant, working with numerous professionals and Major Leaguers.  A season ago under Marcelino’s tutelage, the Rainiers hit a franchise-record 216 home runs.  He was previously the hitting coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of San Diego (NCAA Division I, West Coast Conference) from 2012-18.  During his six seasons at USD, Marcelino coached a top-100 MLB draft selection in five consecutive years (2013-2017), most notably slugger Kris Bryant, selected second overall in 2013.

Born in Essex, England, Marcelino lived in Great Britain until he was 11 years old, and first played in international competition for the British National Team when he was 17 in 1999.  He’s a member of the British Baseball Hall of Fame, and as of 2023, the career leader in games played for Great Britain.  Marcelino will also be a member of Great Britain’s coaching staff for the upcoming World Baseball Classic in March.  He played collegiately at both California Lutheran University and Occidental College in Los Angeles.

Jairo Cuevas, Pitching Coach:  Following eight years as a pitching coach for various Los Angeles Angels affiliates (2015-22), and spending the last two seasons with the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees (PCL), Jairo Cuevas joins the Tacoma Rainiers for his first season with the Seattle organization.  As Salt Lake pitching coach in 2022, Cuevas guided Bees hurlers to a Pacific Coast League-best 4.70 ERA on the notoriously offense-friendly circuit, made even more impressive by the especially hitter-friendly altitude in Salt Lake City.  It marked the first time a Salt Lake City club led the PCL in staff ERA since re-joining the league in 1994.  A Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic native, Cuevas pitched professionally from 2004-11, primarily in the Atlanta Braves organization.  83 of his 105 pro appearances were starts.

Eric Farris, Infield/base running Coach:  Entering his sixth year with Seattle Mariners player development, Eric Farris’s first campaign in Tacoma comes after spending the previous two seasons as manager of the High-A Everett Aquasox (Northwest League).  Farris was ticketed to be manager of then Seattle Class A affiliate West Virginia (South Atlantic League) in 2020, prior to the cancellation of the minor league season.  He was West Virginia’s hitting coach in 2019, mentoring both Julio Rodriguez and Jarred Kelenic.  Farris also guided Cal Raleigh in 2018 as Everett’s hitting coach, when they were Seattle’s Short-Season affiliate.  A second baseman and outfielder by trade, Farris was Milwaukee’s fourth round draft selection in 2007 following three seasons at Division I Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.  A veteran of 1,099 games over 10 professional seasons, Farris made his MLB debut in 2011 with the Brewers, and appeared in 13 more big league games with Milwaukee in 2012.

On the athletic training side, Michael Sadler returns to Tacoma’s staff for a second season as strength and conditioning coach, and held the same post for Double-A Arkansas in 2021.  Aric Quinney enters his first season as the club’s head trainer and his fourth year with the Mariners; he was ATC for Everett in 2021 and 2022.

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