After spending last season as a first-year manager in the Dominican Summer League, Russ Steinhorn looks forward to leading a Quad-Cities River Bandits coaching staff which is getting a complete makeover in 2017.
“It’s an exciting opportunity. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Quad-Cities from the coaches who have been there in the past, and I’m looking forward to getting out there in a couple of months,’’ said Stienhorn, who managed the Astros affiliate in the DSL to a 42-23 record last season. “Spring training will be here in a few weeks already.’’
This will be Steinhorn’s fifth season as part of the Houston organization.
The Orlando native and 2008 graduate of Southeastern University who now calls Dover, Delaware, home spent the previous three seasons as the hitting coach at short-season Tri-City in the New York-Penn League after coaching four seasons at the collegiate level.
“The Astros gave me the chance to manage in the instructional league a couple falls ago, working with some of the younger players in the organization, and that led to the opportunity to manage in the Dominican last summer,’’ Steinhorn said.
“To go there was a great experience for me and I was able to learn a lot as I worked with the players there and by the end of the season, my Spanish had improved quite a bit as well. It was a good summer and with some openings in the system, that led me to this opportunity and I’m anxious to get started.’’
Prior to joining the Houston organization, Steinhorn served as a coach at Delaware State in 2009-10, coached outfielders and assisted with pitchers and hitters at North Carolina-Greensboro in 2011 and was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Delaware State in 2012 before joining the Astros organization.
With the River Bandits, Steinhorn will lead a staff which includes pitching coach Drew French, hitting coach Ben Rosenthal and development coach Jason Bell.
An Austin, Texas, native who graduated from Concordia University in 2006, French joins Quad-Cities from Tri-City, where he worked as the pitching coach for a 38-38 team which finished second in the New York-Penn League in strikeouts.
Prior to joining the Houston organization in 2015, French spent two seasons as an assistant coach at Lee University, worked three years as an assistant at Florida International and was the director of baseball operations for three of the four years he spent on the staff at Alabama.
Rosenthal is new to the Astros farm system this year, but does have limited Midwest League experience. The River Bandits’ hitting coach hit .300 in three games as a catcher for Peoria in 2004 in addition to playing 52 games that season at high-A Palm Beach as a part of a four-year professional career that included three seasons in the Cardinals organization.
A San Diego State graduate and Las Vegas native, Rosenthal spent the past three seasons as the hitting coach at Point Loma University.
Bell is also new to the Astros organization. A St. Louis native, he pitched collegiately at St. Louis University and Central Missouri.
He spent last season as the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at Heartland Community College in Normal, Illinois, after working as pitching coach at Maryland-Eastern Shore and the director of baseball operations at Ohio University.
Houston has also named Elliot Diehl and Hazael Wessin as the athletic trainer and strength coach for its Quad-Cities club. Both are beginning their third season with the Astros organization.
Members of the River Bandits’ 2016 staff have received promotions within the Houston organization.
Omar Lopez, the Quad-Cities manager in three of the last four seasons, will return to the high-A level this year with Houston’s new Buies Creek affiliate in the Carolina League.
Chris Holt, the River Bandits’ pitching coach last season, will join Lopez in that role at Buies Creek, while Joel Chimelis will be the hitting coach at Double-A Corpus Christi after spending the last four seasons with Quad-Cities.