EL PASO, Texas – Edwin Rodriguez will return to manage the El Paso Chihuahuas in 2021, the Chihuahuas and San Diego Padres announced today. Rodriguez managed El Paso in 2019 to an 80-60 record, the second-best record in team history.
Joining Rodriguez on the staff are pitching coach Eric Junge (pronounced “Young”), hitting coach Doug Banks, fielding coach Oscar Salazar, athletic trainer Drew Garner, assistant athletic trainer Maritza Castro and strength and conditioning coach A.J. Russell.
“We’re looking forward to welcoming Edwin Rodriguez back to El Paso and introducing the new members of his coaching and training staff to the best fans in minor league baseball,” said MountainStar Sports Group President Alan Ledford.
“It is an honor to have Edwin back in El Paso to lead our 2021 Chihuahuas,” said Chihuahuas Senior Vice President and General Manager Brad Taylor. “Another familiar face we will be glad to see again is A.J. Russell. We are also eager to show all the new staff members, Eric Junge, Doug Banks, Oscar Salazar, Drew Garner and Maritza Castro how special our city, our ballpark, and especially, our fans are. I have never looked forward to a season starting more than this one.”
Rodriguez managed the Padres’ Lake Elsinore affiliate in 2017 and 2018. He was a Major League manager with the Florida Marlins for parts of the 2010 and 2011 seasons, becoming the first Puerto Rican manager in MLB history. He also managed his home country’s team in the 2013 and 2017 World Baseball Classics.
Junge is joining the Chihuahuas for his first season with the Padres’ Triple-A affiliate. He was a roving pitching instructor for the Padres from 2015-2017 and has been the organization’s pitching coordinator since 2018, a position he will continue holding in 2021. He pitched professionally for 14 years, including parts of two seasons in the Major Leagues with the Philadelphia Phillies (2002-2003).
Banks is entering his first season with the Padres’ Triple-A affiliate. He was previously the hitting coach for Padres affiliates in Lake Elsinore (2018-2019), Fort Wayne (2017) and the Arizona Rookie League (2016). He worked in the Texas Rangers’ front office prior to his time with the Padres. He played college baseball at the University of Arizona.
Salazar is joining the Chihuahuas after working as the hitting coach for the Padres’ Tri-City affiliate in the Northwest League from 2017-2019. He played professionally for 19 seasons, including parts of four years in the Major Leagues with the Detroit Tigers, Baltimore Orioles and the Padres.
Garner was the athletic trainer for the Padres’ Double-A affiliate in 2019. Castro was previously an athletic trainer for Padres affiliates in the Dominican Summer League, Arizona Rookie League and Lake Elsinore.
A.J. Russell is returning as the Chihuahuas’ strength and conditioning coach. He has been with El Paso since the inaugural 2014 season and has been assigned to the Padres’ Triple-A affiliate since 2011.
The Chihuahuas open the 2021 Triple-A West season in Tacoma on May 6 and the home opener at Southwest University Park will be on May 13 against Albuquerque.