ST. PETERSBURG — To ease the transition for Kevin Cash in his first managing job, the Rays could have hired a coach or two with experience as a big-league skipper.
Instead, they decided it would be better to surround Cash with familiar faces, naming longtime third-base coach Tom Foley his bench coach and adding Triple-A manager Charlie Montoyo and former player Rocco Baldelli to the staff.
"We thought it was important to encircle him with people who are familiar to our organization and familiar to him," baseball operations president Matt Silverman said. "And we think that puts him in the best position to succeed this year and looking out many years."
Montoyo, who spent eight years at Durham and 18 in the organization, takes Foley's spot at third base. Baldelli, who spent the past four years in the Rays' front office after retiring as a player, steps in at first base.
George Hendrick, who had been the first-base coach the past nine seasons under Joe Maddon, was reassigned to a special adviser role, with his specific duties to be determined.
The rest of the staff, all signed for 2015 anyway, returns: pitching coach Jim Hickey, hitting coach Derek Shelton, bullpen coach Stan Boroski and assistant hitting/catching coach Jamie Nelson. None has managed in the majors either.
Foley, 55, has been with the Rays for 19 years and at third base the past 13, including the 2005-06 season when Cash was a player in their organization.
"I have great respect for the role he has played in the organization from its inception and will lean on him for his experience and judgment," Cash said in a statement.
Montoyo, who managed in the Rays system since 1997, and Baldelli, who was a 2000 first-round pick and played for the Rays from 2003-08 and in 2010, provided Cash similar comfort.
"To say I'm excited right now would be an understatement,'' Baldelli, 33, said.
Hiring Montoyo, 49, adds a Spanish-speaking coach to the staff; the departure of Hendrick leaves it without an African-American.
Jared Sandberg, who managed last season at advanced Class A Charlotte, seems likely to replace Montoyo in Durham.