A new coaching staff will lead the State College Spikes in 2015.
Johnny Rodriguez will be State College’s manager after taking the Rookie-level Johnson City Cardinals to the 2014 Appalachian League title, the St. Louis Cardinals announced on Friday. Rodriguez, who has spent the last five years managing in the Cardinals’ farm system, will by joined by hitting coach Roger LaFrancois and pitching coach Darwin Marrero.
Oliver Marmol, the Spikes’ manager from 2013-14, has been promoted to manage the Advanced Class-A Palm Beach Cardinals. Marmol led State College to the New York-Penn League Championship Series in both seasons and helped the Spikes capture the league title in 2014.
Hitting coach Ramon “Smokey” Ortiz will be part of Marmol’s staff with Palm Beach, while pitching coach Dernier Orozco will serve in the same position for the Class-A Peoria Chiefs.
Rodriguez, 57, has coached in professional baseball for more than 25 years. He was manager of the New York-Penn League’s Jamestown Jammers in 2002. He’s also coached high school, junior college and Division I baseball — as an assistant at the University of Miami (Fla.) — and worked as a scout for the Houston Astros, Los Angeles Angels, New York Mets and Milwaukee Brewers.
Rodriguez’s son, Sean, is on the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 40-man roster after playing for the Tampa Bay Rays from 2010-14 and the Angels from 2008-09.
LaFrancois, 57, has more than two decades of coaching experience in the minors and has been with the Cardinals organization since 2010. Marrero, 28, was the pitching coach for the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Cardinals for the last two years.
Dan Martin will return for his third straight year as State College’s head athletic trainer.
The Spikes open the season against Williamsport on June 19 at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.