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Rays announce Minor League managerial changes

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- In advance of minor league baseball's Opening Day, the Rays have made the following changes to their minor league coaching staffs: Reinaldo Ruiz will manage Class-A Charlotte, Craig Albernaz will manage Class-A Bowling Green and Blake Butera will manage Rookie-level Hudson Valley. Charlotte and Bowling Green both open the season on Thursday, April 5. Hudson Valley's season opener is scheduled for June 15.

Ruiz, 38, replaces Jim Morrison, who is taking a medical leave of absence. Ruiz spent the previous three seasons with Bowling Green, led the Hot Rods to postseason appearances in each of the last two seasons and a franchise-record 84 wins in 2016. During the 2016-17 offseason, he coached the Brisbane Bandits of the Australian Baseball League and helped them win the Claxton Shield trophy. Previously, Ruiz served as hitting coach for Rookie-level Princeton (2012-14), Hudson Valley (2010-11) and the Rookie-level GCL Rays (2009), and as catching instructor for the Rookie-level VSL Rays (2007-08). He has also coached first (2013-14) and third base (2014-15) for the Bravos de Margarita in the Venezuelan Winter League, and spent two years (2005-06) as the hitting coach for the Navegantes del Magallanes in the Venezuelan Winter League after concluding an eight-year career as a professional catcher (1997-2005).

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- In advance of minor league baseball's Opening Day, the Rays have made the following changes to their minor league coaching staffs: Reinaldo Ruiz will manage Class-A Charlotte, Craig Albernaz will manage Class-A Bowling Green and Blake Butera will manage Rookie-level Hudson Valley. Charlotte and Bowling Green both open the season on Thursday, April 5. Hudson Valley's season opener is scheduled for June 15.

Ruiz, 38, replaces Jim Morrison, who is taking a medical leave of absence. Ruiz spent the previous three seasons with Bowling Green, led the Hot Rods to postseason appearances in each of the last two seasons and a franchise-record 84 wins in 2016. During the 2016-17 offseason, he coached the Brisbane Bandits of the Australian Baseball League and helped them win the Claxton Shield trophy. Previously, Ruiz served as hitting coach for Rookie-level Princeton (2012-14), Hudson Valley (2010-11) and the Rookie-level GCL Rays (2009), and as catching instructor for the Rookie-level VSL Rays (2007-08). He has also coached first (2013-14) and third base (2014-15) for the Bravos de Margarita in the Venezuelan Winter League, and spent two years (2005-06) as the hitting coach for the Navegantes del Magallanes in the Venezuelan Winter League after concluding an eight-year career as a professional catcher (1997-2005).

Albernaz, 35, takes over as Bowling Green manager after one season with Hudson Valley, his first season managing at any level. He led the Renegades last season to their third New York-Penn League title in franchise history. Albernaz started the 2017 season on the coaching staff of Triple-A Durham, coaching third base and working with the catchers, and was the only coach or player in the organization to receive championship rings from both Hudson Valley and Durham. Over the offseason, he spent the winter in Australia as a coach for the Perth Heat. Albernaz was a coach with Hudson Valley in 2016 and a coach with Princeton in 2015. He had a nine-year playing career as a minor league catcher, eight of which he spent in the Rays organization.

Butera, 25, replaces Albernaz in Hudson Valley in what will be his first season managing at any level. He had previously been scheduled to continue his coaching career with Princeton. Butera spent last season, his first as a coach, on Albernaz's coaching staff with the Renegades and helped them win the New York-Penn League title. He was selected by the Rays in the 35th round of the 2015 June Draft out of Boston College and joined the coaching ranks after parts of two seasons as a minor league infielder.

Tampa Bay Rays