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Rays coaching update: Linares may be in, Sandberg in talks

Jared Sandberg, pictured at the All-Star Futures Game, returns as manager of the Durham Bulls. [Times files]
Jared Sandberg, pictured at the All-Star Futures Game, returns as manager of the Durham Bulls. [Times files]
Published Nov. 14, 2018
Updated Nov. 14, 2018

The Rays are closing in on hiring a third-base coach, with longtime Astros minor-league coach/manager Rodney Linares the leading candidate.

Discussions remaining ongoing to fill the other opening on the staff for a major-league field coordinator, with Triple-A manager Jared Sandberg a candidate.

But Sandberg has also interviewed with his hometown Mariners for a similar position, and said Wednesday he also has some other outside opportunities to consider.

Linares, 41, would also fill the Rays' need for an infield instructor and a  Spanish speaker on the staff.

He spent 22 years in the Astros organization, managing for 12 seasons with four affiliates, most recently at Triple-A Fresno, compiling a 787-752 record, but was one of four minor-league staffers let go after the season.

"He did a great job, he touched a lot of players and there's a lot of players playing in the big leagues today who give Rodney a lot of credit," Astros GM Jeff Luhnow told the Houston Chronicle at the time. "He's been a part of our system a long time and he's impacted a lot of our players. We absolutely appreciate that and thank him for his long service for the Astros."

Baseball America named Linares the Best Manager Prospect in the Pacific Coast League. MILB.com featured him in an August profile.

The Rays had two openings after field coordinator Rocco Baldelli was hired as manager of the Twins and bench coach Charlie Montoyo as manager of the Blue Jays. They already decided to promote third-base coach Matt Quatraro to bench coach.