Bulls hire ex-Rays assistant Hernandez as pitching coach
For the second time this summer, USF baseball coach Lelo Prado is filling a spot on his staff with a familiar name with major-league experience, as Prado announced Tuesday that former Rays, Angels and Tigers pitching coach Chuck Hernandez has been hired to coach the Bulls' pitchers.
"(Hernandez is) the final piece of the puzzle that I believe is going to help to where we want to go. ... You know it as well as I do that in this game, pitching decides everything," Prado said. "I've known (him) my whole life, and I think he brings something to the program that a lot of the people around the country don't have, a professional guy who has developed pitchers his whole life."
Hernandez, 49, is a Tampa native who has 31 years of experience as a player and coach, and has known Prado since they were kids growing up in Tampa. He said Prado has tried to hire him for years, but finally convinced him this summer and he joins the Bulls after working with the Phillies' team in the Gulf Coast League this season.
"I used to strike him out in Little League all the time," said Hernandez, a Tampa Catholic grad who was the Rays' pitching coach in 2004-05 and spent the next three seasons with the Tigers. "We've probably joked about this, he and I, for the last 25 years of our professional careers. Finally this year, he hit me for the 20th time probably, I said 'Let's sit down and talk about it.' It's a new frontier for me."
Prado also hired former USF standout and major-league catcher Chris Heintz, who was managing the Twins' team in the Gulf Coast League, as his hitting coach this summer.