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John Russell returns as Rainiers Manager

Former Rainiers player Shawn O’Malley hired as hitting coach, Jairo Cuevas and Eric Farris return to Russell’s staff
January 22, 2024

TACOMA, WA (1/22/24) – The Seattle Mariners have announced that John Russell will return to manage the Tacoma Rainiers in 2024. A former MLB catcher/outfielder and field manager, Russell, 63, is the 12th skipper of the club during the “Rainiers” era and Seattle affiliation (since 1995). 2023 was his first

TACOMA, WA (1/22/24) – The Seattle Mariners have announced that John Russell will return to manage the Tacoma Rainiers in 2024. A former MLB catcher/outfielder and field manager, Russell, 63, is the 12th skipper of the club during the “Rainiers” era and Seattle affiliation (since 1995). 2023 was his first season with the Mariners organization. The 2024 home opener at Cheney Stadium is scheduled for Friday, March 29 at 7:05 p.m. PT. Individual tickets for all 2024 home games are on sale now.

Prior to leading the Rainiers to a 77-73 record last season, Russell’s professional coaching resume includes bench coach of the Baltimore Orioles (2011-18), and he managed the Pittsburgh Pirates for three seasons (2008-10). During his time in Baltimore, he helped the Orioles to three postseason appearances, including advancing to the 2014 American League Championship Series. Russell’s first stint in Pittsburgh and on a MLB staff was from 2003-05, as Pittsburgh’s third base coach. He’s managed 11 total minor league seasons dating to 1995, previously in the Minnesota Twins and Philadelphia Phillies organizations.

In 2001 and 2002 Russell led the Triple-A Edmonton Trappers (Minnesota), and skippered the ’02 club to an 81-59 regular season record and the Pacific Coast League Championship. He led Philadelphia Triple-A affiliates in the International League in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and then Ottawa from 2006-07; his ’06 SWB club qualified for the postseason with an 84-58 record.

As a player, Russell was a professional from 1982 through 1994, appearing in 10 Major League seasons with Philadelphia (1984-88), Atlanta (1989) and Texas (1990-93). A veteran of nearly 1,000 professional games played, Russell appeared in a MLB career-high 93 games for the 1986 Phillies (13 HR, 60 RBI). He was Philadelphia’s first round draft pick in 1982 (13th overall), following three seasons at the University of Oklahoma. On June 11, 1990, Russell caught Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan’s sixth career no-hitter, as the Texas Rangers won 5-0 in Oakland.

Shawn O’Malley, Hitting Coach: A super-utility player who appeared at every infield and outfield position during a 14-year career and over 1,100 professional games, Shawn O’Malley returns to Tacoma as a coach after playing in 134 games for the Rainiers from 2015-17. A Washington native, O’Malley was Tampa Bay’s fifth round draft selection in 2006 out of Southridge High School in Kennewick (born in Richland). He debuted as a Major Leaguer with Los Angeles-AL on 9/7/14, with two base hits and an RBI in a 14-4 win over Minnesota. O’Malley would appear in 124 career MLB games, including 113 with Seattle in 2015-16. O’Malley reached base at a .315 clip as a big leaguer and fielded six different positions in the show.

Jairo Cuevas, Pitching Coach: Following eight years as a pitching coach for various Los Angeles Angels affiliates (2015-22), Jairo Cuevas returns to Tacoma for his second season with the Seattle organization. As Salt Lake pitching coach in 2022, Cuevas guided Bees hurlers to a Pacific Coast League-best 4.70 ERA on the notoriously offense-friendly circuit, made even more impressive by the especially hitter-friendly altitude in Salt Lake City. It marked the first time a Salt Lake City club led the PCL in staff ERA since re-joining the league in 1994. Last season, the Rainiers posted the third-lowest relief ERA in the PCL under the tutelage of Cuevas, and a total of 12 pitchers were promoted from Tacoma to Seattle amidst the 2023 season after working with him. A Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic native, Cuevas pitched professionally from 2004-11, primarily in the Atlanta Braves organization. 83 of his 105 pro appearances were starts.

Eric Farris, Bench Coach: Entering his seventh year with Seattle Mariners player development, Eric Farris’s second season in Tacoma comes after spending the 2021 and 2022 seasons as manager of the High-A Everett AquaSox (Northwest League). He was Class A West Virginia’s hitting coach in 2019, mentoring both Julio Rodriguez and Jarred Kelenic. Farris also guided Cal Raleigh in 2018 as Everett’s hitting coach, when they were Seattle’s Short-Season affiliate. A second baseman and outfielder by trade, Farris was Milwaukee’s fourth round draft selection in 2007 following three seasons at Division I Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. A veteran of 1,099 games over 10 professional seasons, Farris made his MLB debut in 2011 with the Brewers, and appeared in 13 more big league games with Milwaukee in 2012.

On the athletic training side, Aric Quinney returns to Tacoma for a second season, and his fifth year with the Mariners. Quinney was ATC for Everett in 2021 and 2022 prior to joining the Rainiers, and will be joined by ATC Dan Laberry in 2024. Strength & Conditioning Coach Corey Measner is also a newcomer to Tacoma this season.

-- #WeRTacoma --

The Tacoma Rainiers are the proud Triple-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners and a member of the Pacific Coast League. Tacoma has been a Mariners affiliate since establishing the Rainiers moniker in 1995. 2024 marks the 30th anniversary of the Tacoma-Seattle affiliation.

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