GazetteXtra Print Article Logo URL: http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/rays/2017/11/07/rays-promote-joe-benge-to-head-athletic-trainer-give-paul-harker-and-mark-vinson-new-roles/


Rays promote Joe Benge to head athletic trainer, give Paul Harker and Mark Vinson new roles

By Marc Topkin
Paul Harker will move into a new medical coordinator position on the Rays staff. [WILL VRAGOVIC / Tampa Bay Times}

The Rays promoted Joe Benge to head athletic trainer as part of a staff shuffle following the departure of Ron Porterfield to the Dodgers.

Mark Vinson was promoted to top assistant and former top assistant Paul Harker shifted to a new medical coordinator post.

Benge (pronounced BENJ), 40, has been in the Rays organization for seven years, the last six as  minor league medical training coordinator, and also assisting the major-league staff. He was named the 2015 minor-league athletic trainer of the year by the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society.

Vinson, 40, has been with the Rays for 12 seasons, the last seven as an assistant on the big-league staff.

Harker, 49, has been with the Rays for 21 years, working the last 12 as the top assistant to Porterfield. In his new role, the Rays say he "will assist the athletic training staff in a variety of ways, with a focus on logistical support and organizational coordination. He will also be heavily involved with directing care for major league players on the disabled list as well as medical evaluation."

Rays GM Erik Neander said in a statement: "It's always tough to lose someone as talented and dedicated as Ron Porterfield, but we wish him nothing but the best. We are excited to see Joe, Vinny and Hark in their new roles, building upon current practices and ensuring that the ATC staff continues to provide first-class care to our players."

Porterfield had been the Rays head athletic trainer for 12 years and with the team for 21 before leaving for the Dodgers, where he will serve as medical director.