ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays manager Kevin Cash finalized his coaching staff Friday when he announced that Ozzie Timmons will be the team's first-base coach."I'm excited for Ozzie to join our staff," Cash said. "He has a track record of connecting with hitters and providing high-quality coaching throughout his career. We're
ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays manager Kevin Cash finalized his coaching staff Friday when he announced that Ozzie Timmons will be the team's first-base coach.
"I'm excited for Ozzie to join our staff," Cash said. "He has a track record of connecting with hitters and providing high-quality coaching throughout his career. We're looking forward to him complementing our staff with those skills and many others. His primary duties will be coaching first base, providing baserunning instruction and assisting our hitters alongside [hitting coach] Chad Mottola."
When asked if Timmons will bring something to the staff they lacked in the past, Cash noted that past staffs did not have deficiencies. But he added that Timmons "brings his own skill set" and "his own personality."
"The most impressive thing about Ozzie, beyond the baseball, is his demeanor," Cash said. "His demeanor is the same. He's a very upbeat guy. His demeanor is consistent every day I've been around him. And that is pretty consistent with what we heard and talked about with players, what they expressed. There's a lot of people that had a lot of nice things to say about Ozzie throughout this process."
Cash allowed that Timmons was the first candidate interviewed, and he was so outstanding that they circled back at the end of the process to choose him.
Timmons, 47, begins his first Major League coaching assignment and his 12th season as a coach, spent entirely in the Rays organization.
"When I decided to go into coaching, it was something I wanted to do," Timmons said. "Because I always felt like once I was done [playing], I wanted to give back what was taught to me by my teammates to the younger players.
"Did I think it would take this long? No. But getting the reward from the kids at the level I was at and see them produce and get better as players and as people, it made it all rewarding."
For the past two seasons, Timmons was the hitting coach for Triple-A Durham. Prior to that, he coached seven seasons for Double-A Montgomery (2009-15), one season with Class A Columbus ('08) and one season with Class A Short-Season Hudson Valley ('07).
Because of that experience, Timmons has established relationships with many players on the Major League roster, which he felt was important because he's been able to build trust with those players.
A Tampa native who still calls the city home, Timmons graduated from Brandon High School in 1988 and attended the University of Tampa, where he was a two-time Division II All-American. The outfielder was selected by the Cubs in the fifth round of the 1991 Draft and played professionally for 16 seasons, including parts of five seasons in the Majors with the Cubs, Reds, Mariners and Devil Rays.
When Timmons played for Durham in 2000, he led the International League with 104 RBIs and 100 runs scored and earned a September callup with the Devil Rays, batting .341 (14-for-41) with four home runs and 13 RBIs.
Timmons later played in the Japanese Central League, Mexican League and independent Atlantic League.
Timmons becomes the seventh first-base coach in franchise history, following Billy Hatcher, Jose Cardenal, Lee May, George Hendrick, Dave Martinez (who filled in for Hendrick for three weeks in 2007 while he recovered from knee surgery) and Rocco Baldelli.
Baldelli remains a member of the Major League coaching staff and will take on new responsibilities.
With Timmons, Baldelli and Cash in tow, the coaching staff now features three members who once played in the Majors for the Rays. Prior to this, only two others both played and coached for the Rays at the Major League level: Martinez and Wade Boggs.
Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.