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Woodward named Rangers' new manager

MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have made it official. Dodgers third-base coach Chris Woodward has been named the 19th full-time manager in Rangers history and will be introduced at a news conference at 10 a.m. CT on Monday at Globe Life Park.

Woodward, a former Major League infielder, has agreed to a three-year contract to replace Jeff Banister, who was let go with 10 games left in the 2018 season. Woodward also has an option for '22.

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have made it official. Dodgers third-base coach Chris Woodward has been named the 19th full-time manager in Rangers history and will be introduced at a news conference at 10 a.m. CT on Monday at Globe Life Park.

Woodward, a former Major League infielder, has agreed to a three-year contract to replace Jeff Banister, who was let go with 10 games left in the 2018 season. Woodward also has an option for '22.

Woodward was one of at least 11 candidates who were interviewed for the position, and he was offered the job Friday night. The Rangers confirmed the hiring Saturday.

"We are excited to welcome Chris Woodward and his family to the Texas Rangers," Rangers president of baseball operations and general manager Jon Daniels said in a statement. "Chris brings high energy, outstanding leadership and communication skills, a strong knowledge of the game and its evolving strategies, and great integrity -- attributes that we feel are vital for our next manager. We believe these traits will resonate with our players, our staff, and our fans. He has also been a big part of a very successful stretch in Los Angeles."

Woodward had a 12-year Major League career as a utility infielder with the Blue Jays, Mets, Braves, Mariners and Red Sox from 1999-2007 and '09-11. He retired after spending 2012 at Triple-A Las Vegas. Woodward spent two years on the Mariners' coaching staff and the past three years as the Dodgers' third-base coach under manager Dave Roberts.

Woodward was part of the Dodgers' staff when they went to the World Series in 2017-18. In addition to coaching third base, he worked with the infielders and directed defensive shifts on a team that relies heavily on analytics.

Former Rangers pitcher Darren Oliver was a teammate of Woodward's when they were with the Mets in 2006, and he was excited by the hiring.

"He's a good dude … down-to-earth-laid-back-California guy," Oliver said. "He understands analytics. He knows baseball, knows the game and will get along well with the players. He'll be awesome."

Woodward's only managerial experience has been with New Zealand in the 2016 World Baseball Classic qualifying tournament. He was drafted out of high school but also has a college degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix.

"We interviewed a number of strong candidates during an extensive interview process for our managerial role and believe we have found the right fit in Chris Woodward," Daniels said. "We look forward to working with him and everyone on the baseball staff to develop and grow a culture that will lead to success for many years to come."

Woodward played for Seattle in 2009 when Don Wakamatsu was the manager and Adrian Beltre was its third baseman. Wakamatsu was Texas' interim manager after Banister was dismissed and was one of the candidates interviewed for the full-time job.

Woodward has a prior relationship with other Rangers officials, including Minor League hitting coaches Howard Johnson and Dwayne Murphy. Johnson was the Mariners' hitting coach in 2014-15 when Woodward was on manager Lloyd McClendon's coaching staff. Murphy was the Blue Jays' hitting coach in 2011 when Woodward was playing in that organization. Texas has two openings for hitting coaches.

Woodward was born in Covina, Calif., the same Southern California town as former Rangers infielder Michael Young. Both are 42 years old and have known each other since they were kids, according to Young.

Woodward went to Northview High School in Covina, while Young went to Bishop Amat Memorial High School, a private Catholic school in La Puente. Woodward was drafted in the 54th round by the Blue Jays in 1994 out of high school, while Young went to UC-Santa Barbara and wasn't drafted by Toronto until 1997. Woodward ended up a couple levels ahead in the Blue Jays' system and Young was traded to Texas in 2000.

Young had the more distinguished career. Woodward spent most of his career as a utility infielder with a career high of 104 games and 349 at-bats as the Blue Jays' primary shortstop in 2003. A right-handed hitter, he had a career batting average of .239 with a .296 on-base percentage and a .365 slugging percentage.

Woodward played every position but pitcher and catcher in the Major Leagues. He also pitched two games for Las Vegas in 2012. Woodward's only postseason appearance came with the Mets in the 2006 National League Division Series against the Dodgers.

Woodward was chosen over a variety of candidates that included Wakamatsu and farm director Jayce Tingler. Wakamatsu will likely be given a chance to stay in the organization.

Tingler is expected to be on the Major League staff in some capacity, but the entire coaching staff is in flux until Woodward makes any announcements. Hitting coaches Anthony Iapoce and Justin Mashore have already left the organization.

There has been no decision yet on pitching coaches Doug Brocail and Dan Warthen. Brocail has been the Rangers' pitching coach for the past three seasons, while Warthen joined him as an assistant this past season.

Rangers beat

The Rangers also made changes in their front office Friday, hiring Matt Blood as director of player development and promoting Paul Kruger to director of Minor League operations. They will both work under Mike Daly, who is the Rangers' assistant general manager in overall charge of the farm system and international scouting.

Blood has been with USA Baseball for the past three years as director of the 18 and Under National Team Program. Prior to that, he spent seven years as an area scout in the Cardinals' organization.

"Very creative and a forward-thinker," Daniels said. "I think as we continue to evaluate ourselves as an organization, there is value in challenging ourselves with different schools of thought."

Kruger has spent nine years with the Rangers, the last three as assistant director of player development.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

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