5 things to know about new Rays 3B coach Matt Quatraro
Five things to know about new Rays 3B coach Matt Quatraro, who was hired Tuesday away from the Indians, where he had been the assistant hitting coach the last four seasons:
* Quatraro becomes the sixth third base coach in Rays franchise history, following:
Greg Riddoch, 1998-99
Billy Hatcher, 2000-01
Terry Collins, 2001
Tom Foley, 2002-14
Charlie Montoyo, 2015-17
* Though this will be Quatraro's first third-base coaching job, and he knows there will be "a learning curve,'' he has experience at the post during his four seasons as a minor-league manager, plus managing in 2015 in the Arizona Fall League and Venezuelan winter-ball coaching assignments at third with Caracas in 2008 and 2009, plus in spring training with the Indians. Most helpful, he said, where the two winters in Venezuela. "I found that to be hugely beneficial,'' Quatraro said. "At the time I went there as an A-ball manager and I had absolutely no idea what I was getting into. Working in those higher pressure situations where games are win at all costs, I thought that helped me with older players, more experienced players, learn opposing outfielders a little bit better. And just have to make decisions where more was on the line. I think that helped my confidence.'' Also, that bad decisions can lead to consequences. "I made some my mistakes and immediately regretted them but learned from them - dodging objects coming from the stands at time,'' he said. "With anything that you lack experience in, it's a matter of learning from your mistakes and moving on from them, and the more you can do that the better you're going to be.''.
* When hired in 2004 as a catching instructor and coach with short-season Class A Hudson Valley, Quatraro became the Rays first minor league player to join the coaching staff. He spent four seasons as a manager in the low minors, going a combined 196-228 with Hudson Valley (2006-07), Class A Columbus (2008) and Bowling Green (2009). During that 2006 season he was the manager when Josh Hamilton made his return to the field following multiple drug suspensions. From 2010-13 Quatraro was a minor-league hitting coordinator for the Rays.
* Quatraro was the Rays 8th-round pick in their first draft, in 1996, out of Old Dominion and played seven seasons in the minors primarily as a catcher, getting some time at first base and in the outfield, reaching Triple-A Durham in 2002, his last year. Playing for Class A Charleston (S.C.) in 1997, Quatraro became the first player in organization history to hit for the cycle. In 415 minor-league games, he posted a .286 average with 23 homers and 202 RBIs. (He went to spring training in 2003 with the Yankees but didn't make it to the regular season.)
* Quatraro, who is from and still lives in the Albany, N.Y., area (with his wife, Chris, and sons George and Leo), graduated from Old Dominion with a history degree. In 1996 he was named ODU's Male Athlete and Male Scholar Athlete of the Year. He graduated in 1992 from Bethlehem Central High (the same school as newscaster Megyn Kelly, who is a few years older) and was inducted into the school Hall of Fame in 2015.