Triple-A Durham manager Jared Sandberg is leaving the Rays to join the Mariners major-league coaching staff as field coordinator.
Sandberg, 40, said he passed on offers for the same job with the Rays and as bench coach with the Reds to join his hometown team.
"It was a tough, tough decision," Sandberg said. "The main reason I'm coming back to Seattle is family."
Sandberg led Durham to back to back championships in the last two of his four years there, having managed previously in the Rays organization at rookie-level Princeton, short-season Class A Hudson Valley, Class A Bowling Green and advanced Class A Charlotte, 10 years total.
He also spent three seasons playing in the majors for the then Devil Rays as part of a 12-season playing career, the first nine of which were with the Rays after signing as a 16th-round pick in the team's inaugural 1996 draft. He is the nephew of Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg.
Sandberg had immense thanks for the Rays and extensive memories of his time there.
"It starts with the decision I made to not go to University of Hawaii and sign with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, and making a career out of it in the organization," Sandberg said. "With the names of Mitch Lukevics, Bill Evers, Tom Foley, Steve Henderson, the list goes on of guys that helped guide me to be the person I am today. It's a sad day to leave Tampa, but I think everybody knows that they've all helped prepare me for the future.
"To have a goal as a young kid to make it to the major leagues and do that with Tampa was special. And then coming back as a coach and be able to give back that way to the players and the organization and win the championships along the way and help get a strong group of players to the big leagues right now, championship-caliber players to the big leagues right now, and be a part of that, I couldn't thank the Rays more."
The new gig will require some adjustments, from Sandberg's kids getting to spend their summers at home to him getting used to a new color scheme for his gear. "I'm sitting here right now in a Tampa Bay Rays hoodie and a Durham Bulls hat, that's pretty much the only gear I have," he said. "Now I get to wear the hometown logo, so I'm pretty pleased. … To get a chance to coach at the major-league level is fulfilling another dream."