Daren Brown returned last week to the dugout he used to call home, visiting Cheney Stadium in his new role as a Seattle Mariners roving minor league instructor.
The winningest manager in Tacoma history, Brown captured 433 wins while managing Tacoma for all or parts of seven seasons.
Twice he was called up to the major leagues from Tacoma: in August of 2010 to serve as Mariners interim manager after Don Wakamatsu was let go, and in May of 2013 to be Eric Wedge’s third base coach.
After Wedge’s staff was dismantled following the 2013 season, Brown was reassigned to the minor leagues. He travels to all seven of the Mariners’ minor league affiliates, plus the academies in Venezuela and the Dominican Republic.
Brown is focusing on teaching the finer points of baserunning and bunting to Mariners prospects. It’s a very different job for Brown, who spent the previous 13 seasons as a manager after an 11-year pitching career.
“I feel like a lot of times I’m not doing much,” said Brown, laughing. “When you are managing a club, you are locked in from the start. Now I tend to focus more when a guy gets on base, or when a guy comes to the plate who is a bunter or in a situation where he might drop one down.”
Much of Brown’s instructional work occurs early in the afternoon, hours before the game. He works with small groups of players on baserunning and bunting drills.
Being a roving instructor does have its benefits: Brown gets to spend some time at home in Amarillo, Texas, each month.
“It gives me a chance to be at home, which is important,” Brown said. “It’s something I’m having fun with and we’ll see how it goes.”
NO HITS ALLOWED IN HITTERS’ PARADISE
The Mariners’ Single-A High Desert affiliate plays in one of the best hitter’s parks in all of professional baseball: Heritage Field in Adelanto, California.
That made it even more surprising when three Mavericks pitchers combined to no-hit the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization Wednesday night.
Tyler Pike started for High desert, tossing six no-hit innings. The 20-year-old left-hander struck out a career-high eight while walking two.
Relievers Mark Bordonaro (two innings) and Blake Hauser (one inning) finished off the first no-hitter pitched at Heritage Field, which was built in 1991.
“It’s unreal,” Pike said to MiLB.com. “Especially at the field we play at, where it’s pretty much unheard of to (allow) no runs, let alone no hits.”
The outing was a big turnaround for Pike, who allowed 14 runs over 52/3 innings in his previous two starts. Pike is coming off a strong season at Low-A Clinton last year, where he posted a 2.34 ERA in 22 starts.
Pike is 2-2 with a 4.88 ERA in 11 starts this season. He has struck out 40 and walked 35 over 48 innings.Mike Curto is the radio broadcaster for the Tacoma Rainiers.