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Cardinals make staff additions and promotions at minor league and scouting levels12/12/2006 11:08 PM ET
ST. LOUIS -- The World Champion St. Louis Cardinals today completed its minor league coaching staffs and announced staff promotions within its minor league and scouting departments. Included in today's announcements is the formation of a Gulf Coast League team that will be based in Jupiter, FL to begin play in 2007, the Cardinals seventh minor league affiliate.
Former Major Leaguer Dennis Martinez was introduced as pitching coach for the Cardinals Gulf Coast League entry today during departmental meetings in his native Nicaragua. Martinez, 51, pitched from 1976-98 for Baltimore, Montreal, Cleveland, Seattle and Atlanta, and was selected to four All-Star Games while compiling a career mark of 245-193 with a 3.70 ERA in 692 games. Enrique Brito, who served as Latin American supervisor in the Cardinals scouting department, was promoted to manage the Gulf Coast League Cardinals.
Rick Eckstein, older brother of World Series MVP David, was hired as the hitting coach at Triple-A Memphis. Eckstein most recently served as hitting coach at the Washington Nationals' Triple-A affiliate in New Orleans. Rick also served as the bullpen coach with Team USA in the inaugural World Baseball Classic.
No stranger to the Cardinals' organization, Gaylen Pitts returns to manage the Single-A Palm Beach Cardinals in 2007. Pitts managed the Yankees' New York-Penn League affiliate in Staten Island last season. He worked in a variety of capacities in the Cardinals' organization from 1981-2001, including Major League bench coach from 1991-94 and third base coach in 1995.
Additional moves within the Cardinals' field staff include the promotion of Joe Almaraz to manager of the Johnson City Cardinals. He replaces Dan Radison, who was promoted to minor league hitting instructor and who will assist Gene Tenace, the club's current hitting coordinator.
Front office moves begin with the promotion of John Vuch to director of minor league baseball operations. The 2007 season will be Vuch's 20th in the Cardinals' player development department and 29th overall season with St. Louis.
Dan Kantrovitz was promoted to director of college scouting. Anup Sinha was promoted to East region college specialist and Michael Elias hired as Central region college specialist. Jeff Ishii was promoted to an area scout covering Southern California.
The Cardinals 2007 minor league coaching assignments at its seven classifications are as follows:
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