After starting spring training as Double-A Jackson’s hitting coach, Roy Howell was named manager of the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers, the Mariners announced Wednesday.
Howell fills the vacancy left last week when Rich Donnelly permanently replaced Mariners third base coach John Stearns. Donnelly was to begin his first season as Rainiers manager. He was promoted last week when Stearns resigned for health reasons following surgery Feb. 24 for a hiatal hernia.
The last two seasons, Howell was the hitting coach for single-A High Desert, where he guided the Mavericks to a .289 team batting average in 2013, best in the California League. The team was also third in the minor leagues in runs (827).
“Roy is a very accomplished baseball guy, both as a player and as a coach,” said Chris Gwynn, Mariners director of player development. “He is well respected in our organization for the work he has done the past two years His expertise in hitting and his familiarity with many of the players we will have at Tacoma make him a great fit for us at that level.”
Howell, 60, spent parts of 11 major league seasons playing for the Texas Rangers (1974-77), Milwaukee Brewers (1977-80) and Toronto Blue Jays (1981-84). An American League All-Star for Toronto in 1978, Howell was also a member of the 1982 Brewers team that lost the World Series in seven games to the St. Louis Cardinals. Howell hit .261 with 80 home runs and 454 RBIs in 1,112 games as a third baseman, designated hitter and outfielder.
He began his coaching career with the Padres in 2000, then spent the next six seasons in the organization’s minor league ranks before managing the San Luis Rattlers of the California Collegiate League from 2007-10. In 2011, he managed the Road Warriors travel team of the Atlantic League.