Quatraro, Lichtenstein, Torres Will Lead Inaugural Hot Rods Squad

By: Tom Gauthier, Bowling Green Hot Rods
By: Tom Gauthier, Bowling Green Hot Rods

Bowling Green, KY – The Bowling Green Hot Rods, in conjunction with their parent club, the American League Champion Tampa Bay Rays, introduced their first manager and coaches on Wednesday. Manager Matt Quatraro will be joined by veteran coaches R.C. Lichtenstein and Hector Torres, along with athletic trainer Nick Medina, in leading the Hot Rods in 2009.

“We are very excited to announce our coaching staff for our first season,” said Brad Taylor, Hot Rods General Manager and CEO. “We know Matt, R.C., and Hector will lead a strong team on the field while ensuring our players become positive community role models in our first season in Bowling Green.”

Entering his fourth season as a manager, Quatraro returns to the South Atlantic League after spending 2008 with the Rays’ previous SAL affiliate, the Columbus (GA) Catfish. A former minor league catcher, he played seven seasons in the Rays farm system, eventually honing the skills to lead a team both on and off the field.

“It will be a great experience leading a new team into a new ballpark in front of energetic crowds every night,” said Quatraro, who is currently coaching with Leones del Caracas in the Venezuelan Winter League. “But part of the development for the players will be showing their support for the fans by getting out in the community and becoming strong community leaders.”

Quatraro, 35, has compiled 132 wins over his first three seasons as a manager. Prior to Columbus, he was the skipper of the Hudson Valley Renegades (Short Season NY‐Penn League) in 2006 and 2007. This will mark his seventh season as a minor league coach or manager, all coming in the Tampa Bay organization. An eighth‐round draft pick by the Rays in 1996, the Old Dominion University alum became the first Rays draft pick to join the team’s coaching ranks.

Joining Quatraro will be pitching coach R.C. Lichtenstein, who enters his 15th season as a minor league coach or manager. He comes to Bowling Green after serving as the pitching coach of the Rays former Florida State League affiliate in Vero Beach, FL, the past two seasons. He was also in charge of pitchers during a two‐year stint in Southwest Michigan (Single‐A Midwest League) prior to 2007 and a five‐year stint from 1998‐2002 in the Brewers’ organization. As a manager, he led Alexandria in the independent Central League in 2003 and served as manager and director of baseball operations with the independent DuBois County Dragons in 1996 and 1997. Prior to that, Lichtenstein served as a coach from 1991‐1994 at his alma mater, the University of Illinois‐Chicago.

Hitting coach Hector Torres will count 2009 as his 41st in professional baseball and his fifth in the Rays’ minor league system. Torres has served solely as a hitting coach while in the Rays’ system, spending 2005 and 2007 with Montgomery (Double‐A Southern League), 2006 with Hudson Valley, and 2008 in Princeton, WV (Rookie‐Appalachian League). His time in Bowling Green will mark a return to the South Atlantic League after he coached in the Giants organization in Hagerstown (MD) in 2004. To begin his coaching career, Torres was a fixture in the Blue Jays organization, serving as a coach, manager, or instructor from 1979 to 2002. Before coaching, the 63‐year‐old former infielder had a playing career that spanned nine seasons in the Major Leagues with the Astros, Cubs, Expos, Padres, and Blue Jays.

Rounding out the 2009 staff will be trainer Nick Medina. Like Quatraro, Medina comes to Bowling Green after spending 2008 with Columbus. This will be his third season with the Rays after serving as a trainer with Princeton in 2007. He has also worked as the trainer with the Vermont Lake Monsters (Short Season Single‐A) in 2006 and as an intern with the Albuquerque Isotopes in the Triple‐A Pacific Coast League in 2003. Medina graduated from the University of New Mexico with a bachelor’s degree in 2003.

Opening Night, presented by Citizens First Bank, is scheduled for April 17, 2009, against the Kannapolis Intimidators (Chicago White Sox) at 7:05 PM. A variety of ticket packages, including season tickets and five‐ and ten‐game mini‐plans, are now available.

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