LOS ANGELES -- Among the 2016 Dodgers minor league coaches announced by the team on Thursday include a pair of newcomers to the organization at Double-A Tulsa, with Ryan Garko managing the club along with new hitting coach Terrmel Sledge.
Garko, 35, played parts of six seasons (2005-2010) in the majors with the Indians, Giants and Rangers. The first baseman continued to play in the minors through 2013, including in 2012 in the Rays system when Andrew Friedman was general manager.
The former Stanford Cardinal returned to Palo Alto in 2014 to serve as an assistant coach before sitting out 2015. This is Garko's first pro coaching gig.
"I'm very excited to join the Dodgers organization and to come to Tulsa," Garko said in December when his managerial hire was announced. "No city or affiliate has a better reputation than Tulsa, and I look forward to bringing my family there. As a team, our goal is going to be to develop major league players, but to also win a championship."
Sledge, who turns 39 in March, played parts of four seasons in the majors (2004-2007) with the Expos, Nationals and Padres, then spent five years in Japan before retiring after the 2012 season. As the Drillers note, Sledge is the answer to a pair of trivia questions, delivering both the final RBI in Montreal Expos history in 2004, then hitting the first home run in Nationals history in 2005 after the franchise moved.
Sledge, who played baseball locally at Kennedy High School in Granada Hills and in college at Cal State Northridge and Long Beach State, made his coaching debut in 2015 as the assistant hitting coach for short-season Class-A Eugene, the Cubs' affiliate in the Northwest League.
Bill Simas, 44, continues to work his way up through the Dodgers' system, now in his his sixth season in the system as a pitching coach. Simas, who pitched in relief for the White Sox from 1995-2000, started with the Dodgers in rookie-level Ogden in 2011, moved up to Class-A Great Lakes in 2013, then switched to advanced Class-A Rancho Cucamonga.
Leo Garcia, 53, returns to Tulsa as the fourth coach on he staff, the same position he held in 2015. The Dominican-born Garcia was an outfielder who saw time in the majors with the Reds in 1987-88. This will be Garcia's eighth season coaching with the Dodgers and second in Tulsa, following stints with the rookie-level Arizona League Dodgers (2009-12) and as hitting coach with rookie-level Ogden (2013-14).
|Double-A Tulsa Drillers Coaching Staff|
|2015 Tulsa||Position||2016 Tulsa||2015 position|
|Razor Shines||Manager||Ryan Garko||n/a|
|Matt Herges||Pitching coach||Bill Simas||Class-A Rancho Cucamonga pitching coach|
|Shawn Wooten||Hitting coach||Terrmel Sledge||Class-A Eugene coach (Cubs)|
|Leo Garcia||Fourth coach||Leo Garcia||same|
Sledge and Simas replace Shawn Wooten and Matt Herges, respectively, who both moved up to coach in Triple-A Oklahoma City in 2016. Razor Shines, who managed in the Dodgers' system for three seasons including 2015 with Tulsa, is no longer in the organization.