Dragons coaching staff a mix of new, familiar names

The Dayton Dragons on Monday announced their 2021 coaching staff, a mix of new and familiar names.

When the season actually starts is still unknown but could be revealed soon.

Jose Moreno will manage the club in its 21st season while Brian Garman was named the pitching coach and Daryle Ward is back to serve as hitting coach. Darren Bragg is the development coach, a new position that takes the place of the bench coach.

ExploreDragons agree to spot in revamped minor leagues

Moreno joined the Reds organization last year after spending 19 seasons in the Mariners organization filling a variety of roles, most recently as manager of the Seattle affiliate in Everett in 2019.

He is the reigning Venezuelan Winter League manager of the year.

Garman came to the Reds from the Los Angeles Angels system last year and was to be the Dragons pitching coach before the season was canceled. He is a Wapakoneta native and pitched collegiately at the University of Cincinnati.

Ward, who was Dragons hitting coach in 2017-18, is back after holding the same position at Double-A Chattanooga in 2019. His pupils in his first stint with Dayton included record-breaking outfielder Jose Siri and rising prospects Tyler Stephenson, T.J. Friedl and (the since-traded) Taylor Trammell.

Bragg is set to enter his 15th year in the Reds organization. Most recently he was also in Chattanooga as the bench coach in 2019. He previously worked in Dayton as the Dragons hitting coach in 2007-08 when notable future Reds such s Todd Frazier, Zack Cozart and Chris Heisey were on the roster.

As previously announced by Major League Baseball, the Dragons will remain with the Reds organization after accepting an invitation to join the new Major League Baseball Player Development License agreement.

As part of larger overhaul of the minor leagues, the Dragons are moving up to the Advanced A level this year after spending their first 20 seasons in Dayton as a Low-A club.

“The Dayton Dragons organization is thrilled to continue to partner with the Cincinnati Reds,” Dragons team president Robert Murphy said in a news release. “We are very proud of what has been a great relationship with Reds ownership and their Baseball Operations staff. More than 100 Dragons players have played in the Major Leagues including Reds generational favorites like Joey Votto, Adam Dunn, Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier, and Johnny Cueto, and many of today’s Reds players like Jesse Winker, Nick Senzel, Amir Garrett, and Tucker Barnhart. The opportunity to move up to the High A level will be an exciting change for our fans.”

New Reds general manager Nick Krall added in a statement the team is happy to continue its relationship with the Dragons.

“It is well known within the game that the Dragons’ front office provides some of the best experiences in baseball for not only our players, but for visiting players and their Southwest Ohio fan base,” Krall said. “For more than 20 years, they have been an important part in the development of Reds major leaguers both on the field and in our communities.”

ExploreHere is a look at the Reds' 40-man roster heading into spring training

Reds pitchers and catchers are set to report to spring training Thursday with the first full-squad workout in Goodyear, Ariz., scheduled for Feb. 22.

While Reds Opening Day is set for April 1 against the Cardinals, the Dragons schedule has not been released.

Murphy told the Dayton Daily News more information could be available this week or next but indicated the season will not start at the usual time.

“Major League Baseball is looking at having a decongested spring training, meaning that Major League Baseball and Triple-A players will report and then they will leave for their respective cities, and then Double-A and A baseball players will report,” Murphy said. “So we’re looking that we will have a delayed start in 2021, but they are also signaling that we could be playing into the month of September to get as many games as they can possibly get scheduled for us, coming out of the pandemic.”

Murphy also confirmed the team is still working with state and local health officials on protocols for re-opening Day Air Ballpark, which was renamed from Fifth Third Field in January 2020.

The stadium, which opened in 2000, has a capacity of 6,831, but a current Ohio Department of Health order limits crowds at outdoor venues to 15 percent of capacity or 1,500, whichever is lower. Clubs can apply for variances to allow for more fans to be admitted, as the Bengals and Browns successfully did during football season.

“(Public Health - Dayton and Montgomery County) has been great,” Murphy said. “They have been responsive. They’ve been helpful. They have been guiding us as to what we should be thinking about and what we should be doing.

“Our most of our attention at this point has been on making sure that the facility is safe, and that our processes are safe to be welcoming fans back at Day Air Ballpark. They have been very helpful in that. We are working on a plan that we will submit to them for signing off, and they have been, like I said, it’s great to have their expertise like lending a hand to us as we develop our plans.”

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