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Rangers hire Molina as 1st-base coach

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One of the lasting images in Texas Rangers history is catcher Bengie Molina leaping into the arms of closer Neftali Feliz when the team clinched its first American League pennant.

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Three years later, Molina returned to the Rangers when he was hired as the first base coach and catching instructor on Tuesday. The move completes manager Ron Washington's staff for next season.

''My memories . . . everybody being so loose and having fun,'' Molina said of his short stint with Texas that ended in a World Series loss. ''They made me realize how fun the game is supposed to be.''

Molina finished his 13-season playing career in 2010, when he was acquired from San Francisco in a midseason trade and played in the Rangers' first World Series. His final major league game was as Texas' catcher in the deciding Game 5 of the World Series won by the Giants.

The Rangers also said Tuesday that Triple-A manager Bobby Jones will be the assistant hitting coach. The team had previously announced that Jones, who has spent 26 seasons in the organization, would be promoted to the major league staff with his role to be determined.

Molina spent this season as assistant hitting coach for the National League champion St. Louis Cardinals, his first coaching job. Two of his younger brothers are major league catchers, including Yadier, who he worked with while with the Cardinals. Jose Molina is a free agent after playing last season in Tampa Bay.

The 39-year Molina said it was an easy decision for him to leave St. Louis for a job with the Rangers he considers a promotion.

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''It's a great opportunity for me, not only now but in the near future and things like that,'' Molina said. ''I think I have a lot of knowledge in different areas of the game and I can help anybody at any time.''

As a player, Molina was a .274 career hitter for the Los Angles Angels (1998-2005), Toronto (2006), San Francisco (2007-10), and Rangers (2010). He was a two-time Gold Glove Award winner and was the starting catcher for the Angels in 2002 when they won the World Series.

One of his highlights in Texas was a game at Boston on July 16, 2010, when he hit for the cycle. He became only the eighth player since 1900 to hit a grand slam as part of a cycle.

''He's a winner. I think he commands respect and brings credibility,'' Washington said.

Jones served on Rangers manager Johnny Oates' staff in 2000 and 2001 and was on Buck Showalter's staff in 2006. The 64-year-old Jones won 1,656 games and made 12 postseason appearances as a minor league manager.

The Rangers also Tuesday named longtime trainer Jamie Reed as senior director of medical operations, a role in which he will oversee all medical aspects of the organization on the major and minor league levels. Kevin Harmon, going into his 10th season with the team, was promoted to head trainer.

Tagged: Rangers, Rays, Jose Molina

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