A few years ago the Dodgers and perhaps other MLB teams developed a minor league coaching system that included fourth coaches. That is, a coach listed in addition to a manager, a pitching coach and a hitting coach. There had already been a system of roving coaches and instructors but now a fourth coach is listed for all Dodger affiliates.
Their duties rarely seem to be revealed and initially it was thought that the fourth coach would be Spanish speaking to help with the transition of so many young players coming out of Latin America. That no longer seems to be the case but all Dodger minor league affiliates do have a Spanish speaking coach on their roster. For some , the fourth coach role has morphed into a bench coach position. That is the role for Jeremy Rodriguez with the OKC Dodgers and Pedro Montero with the Tulsa Drillers. Other fourth coaches work with hitters, infield players, outfield players, etc.
Both Jeremy Rodriguez and Pedro Montero have previously been profiled.
Rancho Cucamonga Quakes – Elian Herrera
Herrera was born in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic, a city known as the “Cradle of Shortstops”. During his playing career he played some shortstop but more so at second base, third base and in the outfield.
He was originally signed by the Dodgers as an amateur free agent in 2003. He then spent the next ten years in the organization before being called up to play with the Dodgers in 2012. In his first 30 games with the Dodgers he hit .305 before settling in to hit .251 over 67 games.
In 2013 Herrera appeared in only four games with the Dodgers before being claimed off waivers on November 4 by the Milwaukee Brewers. He played two seasons with the Brewers in 69 games for the 2014 campaign and 83 in 2015 in which he posted a combined triple slash of .253/.289/..376.
A switch hitter, he was originally signed by the Dodgers as a catcher but eventually evolved into a utility player capable of playing every infield spot other than first base and all three outfield positions. Being a utility player was not his own personal option.
“I was a catcher when the Dodgers signed me,” said Herrera, who was batting .250 in 12 games at Nashville. “When they first started moving me around to different positions, I was like, ‘Ah, I don’t want to do this. I just want to be at one position and show what I can do.’”
His versatility gained him more time on the Brewers 25-man roster. He actually caught bullpen sessions for the Brewers when catching depth was becoming an issue for them due to injury and suspension. Brewers manager, Ron Roenicke, was most appreciative of Herrera’s versatility.
“Herrera can bunt, steal bases. He has some speed, a good arm. If suspensions come down, the catching part is going to be big. Center (field) is big, too. We don’t have anybody else who can play center.”
He finished out his playing career with short stints in Oklahoma City in 2016, Japan in 2017 and Mexico in 2018. Now 34, Elian Herrera is back home and begins his first year as a coach in the Dodgers organization.
Great Lakes Loons – Jason Bourgeois
Bourgeois was born in Houston, Texas and attended high school at Forest Brook High School in Houston. He was selected by the Texas Rangers in the 2nd round of the 2000 First-Year Player Draft.
He has played all or part of 19 seasons in minor league baseball and part of eight seasons in MLB with the White Sox, Brewers, Astros, Rays and Reds. In all, he has played for 25 different teams during his professional career.
At the minor league level he has played 1681 games including 41 in Mexico in 2018. He is best known for his time with the Charlotte Knights of the AAA International League. Bourgeois, who has played for the Knights in 2007, 2008, 2016, and 2017, is among the franchise leaders in a number of categories. He is third in hits (401), third in games played (363), third in at-bats (1,397), third in runs scored (190), second in stolen bases (71), and tied for second in triples (11). He is only the third player to ever reach the 400-hit mark with the Knights.
At the MLB level he has played 317 games in which he posed a triple slash of .253/.300/.326. The highlight of his MLB career was playing in his hometown of Houston. In 2011 he had his best year as he hit .294 and stole 31 bases in 93 games with the Astros.
“Anytime you get to play in the big leagues it’s a great opportunity, but playing (in your hometown) is the ultimate goal,” said Bourgeois, who now resides in Cypress which is just about 20 miles from downtown Houston.
An additional bonus in his 2011 season was that he again became a teammate with fellow outfielder Michael Bourn. They are long time friends who played little league baseball together.
On June 29, 2015 Bourgeois got razzed a bit in New York. He had just been called up by the Cincinnati Reds and entered the game in the sixth inning. His unique last name apparently lacked recognition at Citi Field and was listed in the Cincinnati lineup as “No. 30, Unknown, RF.” It was quickly corrected, but not quick enough.
“Of course, the fans in New York will let you know about it,” Bourgeois said when back at Great American Ball Park. “I’ll make a name for myself. I love that stuff. It keeps me motivated.”
Following his 2018 season in the Mexican League, the 37-year-old Bourgeois signed on with the Dodgers to begin his coaching career.