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Indians name David Wallace as manager of RubberDucks along with rest of coaching staff

By Ron Ledgard Published: December 20, 2013

The Indians put Davio Wallace in as the manager of the RubberDucks.

Here is the rest of the news release from the RubberDucks:

The Cleveland Indians have announced the organization’s minor league managerial and coaching assignments for the 2014 season, and a brand new field staff will lead the Akron franchise in its first season as the RubberDucks.

Former Akron catcher David Wallace has been named the new skipper of the RubberDucks, becoming the team’s 15th manager since the franchise originated in Canton for the 1989 season. Wallace will be joined on the field staff by hitting coach Rouglas Odor, pitching coach Jeff Harris. The support staff will include trainer Jeremy Heller and strength and conditioning coach Jake Sankal.

Wallace, 34, succeeds Edwin Rodriguez, who was promoted to Special Assistant to Baseball Operations. Rodriguez led the team to a 68-73 record last season. In his new role, Rodriguez will focus on Latin American player plans and transitions to the professional level. Former pitching coach Greg Hibbard will fill the same role at Mahoning Valley, while last year’s hitting coach, Jim Rickon, will move up to Triple-A Columbus.

The 2014 season will be Wallace’s fourth campaign as a manager in the Indians player development system. He managed the Advanced Class-A Carolina Mudcats last season, finishing with an overall record of 57-83. He began his managerial career in 2011 at short-season Mahoning Valley, and moved up to Class-A Lake County in 2012. His 2012 Captains team won a second-half division title, and advanced to the Midwest League playoffs. Wallace’s overall managerial record is 169-185 (.477).

“I am very excited to manage in Akron next season,” said Wallace. “I have heard great things about what (owner) Ken Babby and (GM) Jim Pfander are doing in the community. Canal Park is a great stadium with lots of potential and we’re going to work hard to give the fans an exciting season.”

As the manager at Carolina last season, Wallace mentored a number of top Indians prospects, many of whom received call-ups to Akron during the season, and figure to be in the RubberDucks roster mix for 2014. These include position players Tyler Naquin, Francisco Lindor, Joe Wendle and Tony Wolters, and pitchers Cody Anderson, Joe Colon and Shawn Morimando.

“One of the best things for me so far has been the chance to work with this same core of players as they have moved up through the system,” said Wallace. “The group we have is not only talented as players, but they are good men off the field as well, which makes my job a lot easier.”

Wallace manages from experience. After signing with the Indians as a non-drafted free agent, he played professionally for seven seasons, the first six with the Indians organization. A 6-foot-4, righthanded-hitting catcher, Wallace appeared in 486 minor league games, hitting .223, with 45 homers and 180 RBI. No stranger to Canal Park, he spent parts of three seasons in Akron (2004, 2006-07), appearing in 122 games, with 17 homers and 54 RBI. He concluded his career after spending the 2008 season in Triple-A with the Washington Nationals.

Upon his retirement as a player, Wallace was hired by the Indians as a major league staff assistant, and spent 2009-10 with the major league club, first under Eric Wedge and then with Manny Acta. He embarked on his managerial career the following year with the Scrappers.

“I’ve been very fortunate with the route I have taken in my managerial career,” said Wallace. “The opportunity to spend two years in the big leagues and observe two different managers and see how they run things and how decisions are made was very beneficial. It definitely helped me form my own philosophy and approach as a manager.”

Notable for being a two-sport athlete at Vanderbilt University, Wallace split his first two years in college playing both football and basketball. He was a quarterback on the Vanderbilt football team in 1998 and 1999 under coach Woody Widenhofer. As a freshman in 1998, Wallace threw for 678 yards and four touchdowns. After limited action his sophomore year, Wallace devoted his time exclusively to baseball his final two collegiate years. Born and raised in Nashville, Wallace entered Vanderbilt after a stellar prep career at Christ Presbyterian Academy.

Wallace makes his off-season home in Jacksonville, Florida. He and his wife Lauren have two children—a daughter, Lakely (age 3), and a son, Stratton (born last April).

Harris, 39, will make his debut as the RubberDucks pitching coach after serving in the same capacity under Wallace at Carolina last season. Harris joined the Indians organization as a coach in 2009, following a 14-year professional career. He began his career in the Twins organization in 1995, and finished with the Indians in 2008. He pitched in the major leagues with the Seattle Mariners in 2005-06, appearing in 14 big league games. He was 2-5, with a 4.26 ERA in the major leagues.

Odor, 45, will return to Akron as hitting coach, after assisting Wallace at Carolina last season. Odor was the hitting coach for the Akron Aeros in 2012, helping that team win the Eastern League Championship. Odor is entering his 27th season as a player, coach and manager in the Indians organization. When the 2014 season begins, Odor will have the distinction of being the only person to wear the uniforms of the Canton-Akron Indians, Akron Aeros and Akron RubberDucks.
 

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