Managing Bolsters Hansen’s Resume


This isn’t the first time Roger Hansen has stepped one league back to move two leagues forward, so his retreat to the Northwest League to manage the Everett, Wash., Aquasox is probably a savvy career decision.

Hansen, 34, is a former Rio Mesa High catcher who toiled in the minor leagues for 11 seasons before becoming the Seattle Mariners’ roving catching instructor in 1991.

He finally made the big leagues--as the Mariners’ bullpen coach--the following year, but that break might never have occurred had he not proven years earlier he was willing to do whatever was best for the organization.


In August of 1988, Hansen was batting .330 in triple A when the Mariners demoted him to Burlington, Vt., of the double-A Eastern League with urgent instructions: Room with Ken Griffey Jr. and keep him in sight at all times.

Griffey had been promoted from Class-A San Bernardino, and Mariner brass wanted the transition to go smoothly.

“I showed up and they said, ‘Hey, you’re rooming with this kid, make sure he knows what the hell he’s supposed to do,’ ” Hansen said. “He was a great kid. We had a good time.”

Injuries to Hansen’s elbow during his minor-league career kept him from fulfilling the promise he showed at Rio Mesa, where he hit a Southern Section-record 31 home runs.

“They flew me to doctors all over the country,” he said. “But the bones had deteriorated in the elbow and my arm strength was just gone.”

After seven seasons in the Kansas City Royals’ farm system and four with the Mariners’, Hansen made the major leagues as a bullpen coach under Manager Bill Plummer.


Plummer was fired after one season, however, and so was his staff. It was a tribute to Hansen’s value to the organization that he was retained as the roving catching instructor.

He enjoyed that role so much he balked when asked to manage the Mariners’ short-season Class-A affiliate in Everett. “I like working with the catchers,” he said.

But as a career move, managing helps round out a resume that he believes will someday land him a spot coaching third base in the major leagues.

“With these kids in A ball, they have to play hard and learn fundamentals,” he said. “You hope for wins, but that’s not important. This is development.”

For the manager as well as for the players.


Playing for Hansen at Everett gives catcher David Skeels a strong sense of deja vu: His coach at Thousand Oaks High was Hansen’s father, Jim.

Skeels, 22, who played four years at Arkansas and in the independent Texas-Louisiana League last season, signed with the Mariners during spring training.


“It’s a small world, that’s for sure,” Hansen said. “He’s a good kid. He does a decent job when he gets a chance to play.”


Rich Aude of the Calgary Cannons, frustrated at his inability to stick with the Pirates, took it out on pitchers from Colorado Springs on June 14, hitting home runs in three consecutive at-bats: one blast for every time the Pirates have sent him back to triple A.

Aude, a 6-foot-5 first baseman from Chatsworth High, hit four home runs in the doubleheader. He is batting .311 and leads Calgary with 14 homers and 47 runs batted in despite having played in only 47 of the team’s 81 games.

Signed in 1989, Aude swung his way through the minors rapidly, smacking 96 doubles and 44 home runs in four seasons before making the big leagues late in 1993.

He batted only .115 in 25 at-bats, then spent the entire ’94 season in triple A, hammering 38 doubles and 15 home runs while batting .281. His average continued to rise the following year and he was promoted to Pittsburgh after hitting .333 with nine homers and 42 RBIs in 50 games.


Twenty-two players from the area opened play this week in four short-season Class A and rookie leagues.


The New-York Penn League has the most area players: pitchers Tony Dellamano (Westlake High), Brandon Knight (Buena) and Justin Siegel (Taft) play for the Erie Seawolves; first baseman Jeff Tagliaferri (Kennedy) and outfielder Kurt Airoso (Cal State Northridge) play for the Jamestown Jammers; pitcher Adam West (Thousand Oaks) and infielder Stacy Kleiner (Taft) play for the New Jersey Cardinals; outfielder Will Skett (Reseda) plays for the St. Catharine Stompers, and shortstop Dennis Konrady (Pepperdine) plays for the Watertown Indians.