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Boulders’ Salazar named pitching coach in Minnesota Twins organization

Rockland Boulders pitcher/pitching coach Richard Salazar was named the new pitching coach in the Minnesota Twins organization.

Having pitched in the minor leagues for 17 years, Rockland Boulders starting pitcher/pitching coach Richard Salazar knew one day an opportunity to coach in affiliated baseball would occur. However, he did not realize that chance would happen this year.

Recently, Salazar accepted the position of pitching coach with the Minnesota Twins Rookie Ball/Gulf Coast League team in Fort Myers, Florida.

Salazar pitched in numerous leagues tallying a 106-69-career record with a 3.82 ERA and 1197 strikeouts. In a Rockland Boulders uniform, Salazar posted a 36-18 record with a 3.43 ERA and 350 strikeouts. Salazar was also twice named the Pointstreak Pitcher of the Month.

Tuesday night I spoke to Boulders manager Jamie Keefe about Salazar accepting the position with the Twins organization.

“Nobody has put their time in like Rich and I couldn’t be happier for him and his family,” said Keefe. “It’s an opportunity he had to jump all over. We’re pretty happy he finished his career here and we’re also glad we were a part of it. A no-brainer as a team to give him that opportunity and we needed him as much as needed us.”

“It was a really good marriage between Richard Salazar and the Rockland Boulders for four really strong years in the regular season. The success we had for many reasons is due to Rich.”

“Every season you didn’t want anyone more on the mound than Richard. 36 wins in the four years here, and he was a big game guy. I was spoiled to have the likes of Richard Salazar to be in that uniform and wear number 34 and for what he represented. Rich put his time in and well deserved and in a point in his life he can step aside and start helping younger players develop in rookie ball. He put on the Boulders uniform on and was a class act through and through He led by example and taught these younger players how to be a pro.”

Double G Sports had the opportunity to speak with Salazar after the announcement. The conversation ranged from him moving on from the Boulders and what he will miss about the organization.

Double G Sports: Congrats Rich on the new pitching coach position with the Minnesota Twins rookie ball affiliate team in Ft. Myers, Florida. Can you describe what the process has been the past couple of weeks?

Richard Salazar: “It was a surprise and I was not expecting it. Looking down the road and future and now I got the opportunity and took the job and could not pass it up. It was a crazy few weeks going on interviews to be the pitching coach for the Twins organization. I had a great experience learning knowledge such as how to handle a staff as the pitching coach with the Boulders.”

DGS: Can you describe your relationship with teammate/catcher Marcus Nidiffer and manager Jamie Keefe?

RS: “I would say it was 50 percent me and other 50 percent was Marcus. We were on the same page. We lost our fair share of battles but at the end of the day, more ups than downs. I would take Marcus as my catcher anytime.”

“Jamie was always good at finding great talent and one of the reasons (Stephen) Cardullo and Junior (Arrojo) are here today. I remember my first year I started out really bad. Jamie and Marcus called me into the office and said I had to step it up. Jamie gave me an opportunity to be on my own and help the guys. He is good at bringing in young and talented pitchers and knowing which ones you will keep and have good and bad luck with and have to make changes.”

DGS: What are you going to miss most about the Rockland Boulders?

RS: Shawn (Reilly) and Ken (Lehner) gave me an opportunity to be a part of the Boulders. My first impressions of Palisades Credit Union Park was a Triple-A field. I love the neighborhood here in New York, the atmosphere. The people accepted my family and me. I’m going to miss the team and the guys I have been with four years, Marcus and Lori (Rahaim) was our Mom and taking care of each guy. We had leadership in each corner of the clubhouse, Jared (McDonald), Marcus and (Mike) Fransoso. The cities in Canada were fun, and there was always something to do.”

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Sunil Sunder Raj

Since July of 2014 Sunil Sunder Raj has been with In The Zone. Sunil has experience covering minor league baseball, high school and college sports. A beat writer for the Rockland Boulders for six years, Ramapo College men’s basketball for four years, NJIT men’s basketball and Seton Hall women’s basketball. Now focusing on feature articles about athletes, coaches and sports media professionals. A graduate of Ramapo College of New Jersey with a bachelor of arts degree in journalism.
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