EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — A tough season for the El Paso Chihuahuas just got even tougher. The San Diego Padres announcing on Wednesday that Chihuahuas manager Edwin Rodriguez will be stepping down from his position, effective immediately. Pitching coach Eric Junge will serve as interim manager for the remainder of the 2021 season.
No reason was given as to why or who decided on the mid-season change, but Padres manager Jayce Tingler says it’s business as usual.
“I found out last night. So, Eric [Junge} is obviously going to be taking over from here. As far as the process — up-and-down — nothing is really going to change,” said Tingler. “We do a lot of our communication through AJ [Preller], Sam Geaney, through Ryley Westman and Chris Kemp on that front. I don’t think anything as far as our process — guys going up-and-down — really changes.”
Rodriguez, 61, has enjoyed 42 years in professional baseball and a managerial career spanning the majority of the past two decades across four organizations, including the Tampa Bay Rays (1999-02), Florida Marlins (2004-11), Cleveland Indians (2012-16) and San Diego Padres (2017-21). He became the first Puerto Rican-born manager in Major League Baseball history for the Marlins in 2010, compiling a two-year managerial record of 78-85 (.479). He also managed the Puerto Rican national team in the 2013 and 2017 World Baseball Classic.
After an offseason full of acquisitions for the Padres in an attempt to compete for a National League West Division title, the farm system — particularly at the Triple-A level — was raided and hasn’t quite lived up to expectations. The Chihuahuas are currently in last place at 36-52, 12.5 games back of first place. This season is likely to be the team’s first losing season since coming to El Paso in 2014, capturing division titles 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. The Chihuahuas captured a league title in 2018.
The 2021 season marked Junge’s first as the Chihuahuas pitching coach and ninth year with the Padres, having previously served as minor league pitching coordinator, pitching instructor and advance scout.