The Mariners completed their coaching staff for the 2014 season Monday with the hires of Howard Johnson, hitting coach; Mike Rojas, bullpen; Andy Van Slyke, first base; Rick Waits, pitching; and Chris Woodward, infield. They join Trent Jewett (bench), Jason Phillips (bullpen catcher) and Scott Budner (batting practice pitcher) on new manager Lloyd McClendon’s staff.
Johnson spent last season as the AAA Tacoma Rainiers hitting coach. He served as hitting coach for the New York Mets from 2008-10. Johnson ha a 14-year major league career, playing in 1,531 games for the Tigers, Mets, Rockies and Cubs.
Rojas spent the past 2½ seasons as the Tigers bullpen coach. Rojas also worked as the Tigers’ director of player development from Aug. 6, 2010-July 2, 2011.
Stearns entered the 2013 season as Seattle’s minor league catching coordinator, and finished the year as the manager at AAA Tacoma. He was the Mets’ third base coaching and catching instructor in 2000 and 2001. Stearns played 11 seasons in the majors with Philadelphia (1974) and the Mets (1974-85) and made four National League All-Star teams (1977, 1979, 1980 and 1982).
Van Slyke, who has not had MLB involvement the past four seasons, last served as first base coach for the Tigers from 2006-2009.Van Slyke was a three-time All-Star (1988, 1992, 1993) and won five Gold Gloves during his 13-season major league career with the Cardinals (1983-86), Pirates (1987-1994), Orioles (1995) and Phillies (1995).
Waits spent the last three seasons as the Mariners minor league pitching coordinator, and was instrumental in coordinating the development of RHP Taijuan Walker, LHP James Paxton and RHP Erasmo Ramirez. Waits pitched in the majors for 12 seasons with the Rangers (1973), Indians (1975-1983) and Brewers (1983-85).
Woodward spent last season as the Mariners roving minor league infield coordinator. It was his first coaching position after retiring from a 12-year career with the Blue Jays (1999-2004, 2011), Mets (2005-06), Braves (2007), Mariners (2009, 2010) and Red Sox (2009).