Rays Hire GCL Manager

ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. — When the Rays decided to hire a new manager for their Rookie-level Gulf Coast League team, they turned to an old name: Paul Hoover, who spent eight years as a catcher in their organization.

Hoover, 35, was a 23rd-round pick in the 1997 draft and worked his way through the Rays system, earning two short stints in the big leagues in 2001-02. He also played for the Marlins and the Phillies, though spent the bulk of his career—parts of 11 seasons (and 730 games)—at the Triple-A level.

"As a player, Paul was a student of the game,'' farm director Mitch Lukevics said. "Great work ethic, great teammate, and great intangibles. This came about because Paul wanted to get on with a career after his playing days.''

Hoover is the third Rays draft pick to manage in their system, following Matt Quatraro (who is now a hitting coordinator)  and Jared Sandberg (currently at short-season Hudson Valley). Two other former Rays minor leaguers are coaches in their system, Ozzie Timmons and Dan DeMent.

"We are extremely proud to have our former players to be on our staff,'' Lukevics said.

The other newcomer to the minor league staff could have been another, as Kyle Snyder was a 27th-round pick by the Rays in their inaugural 1996 draft but opted to attend North Carolina, and became a first-round choice by the Royals in 1999. Snyder, a product of  Sarasota's Riverview High who pitched five seasons in the majors for the Royals and Red Sox, will be the pitching coach at Hudson Valley.

"Kyle will tap into his vast experience as a pitcher both on the minor league and major league levels,'' Lukevics said. "He has a passion for the game, and he, too, wanted to start a new career after his playing days.''

Hoover replaces Joe Alvarez, who was not rehired. The opening for Snyder came about when Jack Giese went to the University of Oklahoma.

• The Rays retained all of their minor league coordinators for the 2012 season. 

• Catcher Nevin Ashley, who split 2012 between Montgomery and Durham, was designated for assignment on Jan. 13 as the Rays had to make room on the 40-man roster for Luke Scott.