The New York Yankees have announced that Luis Dorante, who served as bullpen coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 2008-10 and has managed 11 seasons in the minor leagues, will serve as manager of the Charleston RiverDogs in 2014.
Dorante was most recently the first base coach for the Trenton Thunder, the Yankees' Double-A affiliate, the past two seasons, and he also skippered the Aguilas de Zulia to a 34-29 record in the Venezuelan Winter League this offseason which was good for second place. A native of Falcon, Venezuela, he spent six seasons as a player in the Boston Red Sox organization prior to beginning his coaching career.
"Luis has a load of coaching experience, all the way up to the major league level, and has also successfully managed for many years," said Pat Roessler, the Yankees' director of player development. "We are excited to have Luis lead this group in Charleston for the 2014 season."
Dorante replaces Al Pedrique, who has been named manager of the Tampa Yankees of the Florida State League. Dorante will be the sixth RiverDogs manager in as many years and follows Pedrique (2013), Carlos Mendoza (2012) Aaron Ledesma (2011), Greg Colbrunn (2010) and Torre Tyson (2009).
Born on October 25, 1968, Dorante appeared in 221 games over six seasons in the Red Sox farm system. A right-handed batter, he primarily caught, but also made appearances at first base, third base and in the outfield. Dorante compiled a career batting average of .216 with 32 doubles.
After retiring following the 1993 season, Dorante joined the Montreal Expos organization in 1994 as an international scout. The next year he began his managerial career when he steered the Expos' Gulf Coast League team to a 21-35 record. He has managed in five different leagues over his 11 seasons at the helm, including the South Atlantic League in 1998 when he guided the now-defunct Cape Fear Crocs to a solid 80-61 finish.
The Yankees also announced first base coach Justin Tordi will return to the staff. A former Florida Gator, Tordi is a native of Rochester Hills, Mich. He was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 46th round of the 2002 MLB June Amateur Draft out of Dr. Phillips High in Orlando, Fla., and by the Cincinnati Reds in the 41st round of the 2005 MLB June Amateur Draft out of Florida.
Joining the staff as the team's new hitting coach will be former RiverDog outfielder Edwar Gonzalez. A right-handed hitter from Maracaibo, Venezuela, Gonzalez spent nine seasons as a player in the Yankees organization reaching as high as Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2010.
He enjoyed his beat season as a pro in 2008 when he hit .292, clubbed 20 homers and drove in 85 runs as he split time between High-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton. Gonzalez spent last year as hitting coach of the Gulf Coast League Yankees 2 team.
Another familiar face that is new to the staff this year is pitching coach Carlos Chantres, who served in the same capacity in Charleston in 2011 under Ledesma. Chantres enjoyed a lengthy 12-year playing career as a right-handed pitcher in the Chicago White Sox, Milwaukee Brewers, Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Philadelphia Phillies' organizations. He spent parts of four seasons pitching at the Triple-A level, and overall finished with an 80-88 record and collected six saves in 291 appearances over his dozen seasons on the mound. Chantres was born in Miami, Fla., and spent the past two seasons as the pitching coach for the short season Staten Island Yankees in the New York-Penn League.
Additionally, Jimmy Downam, who was with the Staten Island Yankees last year, will serve as the trainer while Anthony Velazquez, who was with the Philadelphia Phillies organization last year, is the new strength and conditioning coach. JR Bassett returns as the clubhouse manager for his third season in the Lowcountry.
The RiverDogs open the 2014 home campaign on Monday, April 7, when the rival Greenville Drive invade Riley Park with a scheduled first pitch at 7:05 pm.