Are you ready to play ball again Reno? After the chaos that the pandemic caused for the Reno Aces in the last two seasons, this April 12, 2022 marks a new year at home for our local team and luckily, although cold, the weather is cooperating.
Another novelty? The Reno Aces, along with the Arizona Diamondbacks, announced that Gil Velazquez, a Mexican American from Los Angeles, has been named manager of the Aces, in his first season as coach.
“Gil’s enthusiasm is off the charts and we can’t wait to introduce him to our fans and community,” Aces President Eric Edelstein said in a press release. The Aces’ season kicked off on April 5 and on Tuesday they will play their home opener at Greater Nevada Field at 1:05 pm PT against the Sacramento River Cats.
Velazquez comes to Reno after serving as the diamond coordinator with the Diamondbacks, a position he had held since the beginning of his coaching career in 2017. Prior to joining the D-backs organization, Velazquez served as the Arizona League coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2015, as well as manager of the Great Lakes Loons in 2016.
Velazquez is the second-youngest coach in Aces history, at just 42 years old. As a player, he was a versatile infielder and went through the majors with the Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Angels and Miami Marlins.
In an interview with Noticiero Móvil, Velazquez shared that his experience both in Mexico and in the United States have helped him to be the manager he is today. He’s enthusiastic about being in a position to help the ballplayers, especially Latinos.
“My experiences in Mexico were very nice experiences. I learned a lot from my time there, but I feel that not only in Mexico – all the experience I have gained [in] my 26 years in professional baseball – all those experiences are going to help me help these guys,” he said via Zoom in March. “With Latinos, being able to speak Spanish helps me a lot. Communication is the most important part in any job.
Also joining the team’s coaching staff for the 2022 season are 1990 American League Cy Young Award winner Doug Drabek, who comes in as pitching coach, and former Aces Nick Evans and Mark Reed will help the squad get on base as hitting coaches.
“I know that there are many Latino boys who have their dreams of wanting to play professionally, and I will try to be available to help the community as much as possible,” he continued.