The same kinds of feelings exist in the Cardinals international operations as they bring back a former farmhand as the new manager of the Venezuelan Summer League Cardinals for 2010, Milko Jaramillo.
The native of Caracas, Venezuela was originally signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers as a non-drafted free agent in 1996 at the age of 16. Jaramillo spent his first seven seasons in the Dodgers system before being picked up by the Cardinals in the Triple-A phase of the 2001 Rule 5 draft.
Jaramillo, a shortstop, began his Cardinals career with Potomac of the Carolina League and in his first taste of Double-A in 2004, he was a part of Mark DeJohn's Southern League co-champion Tennessee Smokies club. Jaramillo was a member of the Springfield Cardinals in their inaugural 2005 season and experienced his first taste of Triple-A action with Memphis that July.
After being released at the end of 2006 spring training, Jaramillo hooked on with the Milwaukee Brewers organization, playing at three levels that year. He finished his playing career as a member of the 2007 Newark Bears of the independent Atlantic League. 5-feet-11, 165 pounds in his playing days, Jaramillo was a .231 hitter in 855 career minor league games.
Most recently, Jaramillo cut his managerial teeth by leading the Tigres de Aragua team in the Venezuelan Liga Paralela for the last several seasons. His 2009-10 club finished 35-17, just a half-game out of first place and took the league crown in the playoffs. Among the Cardinals farmhands who played for Jaramillo on that club are Frederick Parejo, Domnit Bolivar and Jose Garcia.
Cardinals Director of International Operations Moises Rodriguez is excited about his new hire.
"This is Milko's first job with an MLB organization. We like his character; what he can bring to the table. We think he is going to be a very good hire," Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez outlines the remainder of Jaramillo's 2010 Venezuelan Summer League coaches.
"Our staff in Venezuela is going to be Milko, Jesus Laya, who remains there (as hitting coach), Dernier Orozco, who was a GCL (Gulf Coast League) coach, is going to be our pitching coach and Henderson Lugo, who was our VSL pitching coach, moves to the GCL.
"Neder Horta, who was a Colombian scout and who was also hitting coach in the GCL last year, will be an extra coach and work with the infielders in Venezuela this year. Our trainer Jorge Villalobos is coming back. So that is our staff," Rodriguez concluded.
Jaramillo's VSL Cardinals begin play in mid-May.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Brian pens a column each Wednesday at the St. Louis Globe-Democrat and selected TCN content appears at FOXSportsMidwest.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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