Kinston, NC – The Texas Rangers on Wednesday announced its 2021 minor league coaching staffs. The Down East Wood Ducks will feature an entirely new staff from the one that was in place during the last season of play in 2019.
Even though the staff is new to Down East, they are not new to each other, as four members of the staff worked together during the 2019 season leading the AZL Rangers to the league championship.
Carlos Cardoza will manage Down East in 2021 after he was slated to serve in that role at Low-A Hickory last year. In the absence of a 2020 minor league season, he coordinated camp and managed a group of Rangers prospects in the Fall Developmental League. Cardoza will be joined on staff by pitching coach Jordan Tiegs, who joined the organization midway through 2019 and was also set to coach at Low-A Hickory in 2020. Hitting coach Eric Dorton is entering his third year in the organization. Former Texas farmhand Kevin Torres will be the club’s fourth coach. He was set to make his professional coaching debut with the Wood Ducks last season. Derrick Decker will be the Woodies’ athletic trainer and Andy Earp will serve as strength and conditioning coach.
Cardoza arrives in Kinston for his fifth season managing a Rangers affiliate. He spent the 2019 season with the AZL Rangers, helping to lead the team to a league title. Prior to his stint in Arizona, Cardoza managed the Dominican Summer League Rangers from 2016-18 where his teams went 141-71 and finished 1st in two of his three seasons at the helm. Overall, Cardoza has a 174-94 record as a manager in his four seasons with the Rangers for a winning percentage of .649. The San Juan, Puerto Rico native joined the Rangers in July 2015 following two years as the head coach at his high school alma mater, Decatur HS in Georgia. Cardoza began his collegiate baseball playing career at Georgia State University (Atlanta, GA) before finishing at Armstrong State University (Savannah, GA), where he was a gold glove second baseman and All-Peach Belt Conference choice. He was also a member of the Peach Belt Conference Presidential Honor Roll. After college, Cardoza played professional baseball in the Puerto Rican Federation League.
Tiegs, the Woodies pitching coach, enters his first season with a Rangers affiliate. Before joining the Rangers, Tiegs spent five seasons as the pitching coach at Indiana State University where he coached five pitchers taken in the MLB Draft. His 2012 staff set a school record for shutouts and were 2nd in school history for strikeouts in a season. Tiegs played collegiately at Sauk Valley Community College for two years before pitching at the College of Charleston for a year and eventually ending his collegiate career at the University of Indianapolis. The Woodstock, Ontario, Canada native, was taken in the 2006 MLB Draft by the Cincinnati Reds where he spent two seasons playing in the Frontier League with the Evansville Otters before an injury ended his playing career.
Dorton, the Wood Ducks hitting coach, rejoins Cardoza as he served in the same role on his 2019 AZL Rangers staff. Before joining the Rangers organization, Dorton was a coach in the collegiate ranks as well having last served on the staff at his alma mater, Lamar Community College (LCC) (Lamar, CO). The 2010 LCC graduate, also had stints on the coaching staffs at West Texas, Tarleton State, and Cloud County Community College. The Alamogordo, New Mexico, native earned first-team all-state honors and was ranked the No. 1 player in New Mexico coming out of high school. Dorton was also ranked the 319th (56th Outfielder) player nationally in 2008. He attended the University of New Mexico before transferring to Eastern Arizona College.
Torres will serve as the fourth coach for the Wood Ducks, his first professional coaching role. As a player, he reached the Triple-A level in 2017 and played for New Jersey of the independent Canadian-American Association in 2018. He earned a pair of All-Star honors, as he was selected to the 2013 Northwest League mid-season All-Star team with Spokane and the 2011 Arizona League post-season All-Star team with the AZL Rangers. The Santa Isabel, Puerto Rico native won a gold medal as a member of Team Puerto Rico at the Pan American Games in 2019. Torres was originally selected by Texas in the 45th round of the 2008 June draft out of the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy in Gurbo, Puerto Rico.
Decker, who will serve as the Athletic trainer, will be in his fourth season with the Rangers. Decker was also a part of the coaching staff that led the 2019 AZL Rangers to the league championship. The Appleton, Wisconsin native is a 2015 graduate of Ball State University and received his Masters of Psychology degree from the University of Missouri in 2017. Before joining the Rangers, Decker worked for the Carolina Panthers for one season.
Earp, who will serve as the Strength and Conditioning coach, enters his third year with the Rangers. A native of Maryland, Earp interned with the University of Wyoming, was an assistant coach at Wilkes University and then a Graduate Assistant at Clemson University before joining the Rangers. Earp was also a member of the the 2019 AZL Rangers coaching staff. Earp earned his bachelor’s degree from Appalachian State (2013) and has Master’s degrees from Augusta University (2015) and Clemson University (2019).