Charleston RiverDogs manager Blake Butera will have a 2021 coaching staff peppered with Tampa Bay Rays minor league experience. The RiverDogs' new parent club announced assignments Feb. 22 to include pitching coach Steve Watson, hitting coach Wuarnner Rincones, coach Sean Smedley, trainer Tsutomu Kamiya and conditioning coach James McCallie.
Watson is a veteran sage best known as "Doc." Before serving as pitching coach of the Rays' High Class A Florida State League team for six years, he tutored pitchers for 12 years with the Pittsburgh Pirates, five with the Baltimore Orioles and three with the Miami Marlins.
Rincones coached with the short-season Princeton Rays in two stints, from 2010-11 and 2016-19, with time on with the GCL Rays from 2012-15.
“This is a well-regarded group of coaches that are very knowledgeable in all areas of the game,” Butera said. “I am extremely fortunate to be surrounded by this group. They will do a tremendous job in the development of our players.”
Butera, 28, was named RiverDogs manager in late January. He is a former Boston College player in his seventh season in professional baseball — four in a coaching capacity and three as a manager.
Charleston is in the first year of a new player development deal with the Rays. The RiverDogs are in the new 12-team Low A East league, part of Major League Baseball's remodeling of minor league baseball.
The RiverDogs' 2021 season begins with a home series against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans starting May 4. Ticket information is available at riverdogs.com or (843) 577-DOGS.