Emeralds lose Rajsich, gain Whitehurst

Eugene Emeralds pitching coach Dave Rajsich is moving on to become the Lake Elsinore Storm's pitching coach. Wally Whitehurst will take his place with the Ems, joining returning coaches Ben Oglivie and Roy Howell.

Rajsich joined the San Diego organization in 2000 and spent two seasons in Double-A Mobile and one with Triple-A Portland before arriving in Eugene. Rajsich, a former Major League pitcher had a career record of 3-4 with a 4.62 ERA in 55 games with the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers.

With the Emeralds, Rajsich helped the Emeralds to a team ERA of 3.70 in 2003, but dropped to a Northwest League worst 5.13 in 2004. His 2003 team was loaded with talented pitchers, including Sean Thompson, Jared Wells and Eddie Bonine. Unfortunately, 2004 was not so kind. No pitcher with four or more starts had an ERA under 3.96.

Whitehurst made his professional coaching debut last season with the rookie level Peoria Padres of the Arizona League. The Peoria pitching staff featured 23 different players and posted a team ERA of 3.70. Whitehurst appeared in 163 games with 66 starts posting a 20-37 record and a 4.02 ERA while playing for the Padres, New York Mets and Yankees.

Howell will skipper the Emeralds for the third straight season after netting 65 wins through his first two years against 87 losses. Howell played parts of 11 seasons in the majors, hitting .261 with 80 homers and 454 RBI.

Oglivie also returns to Eugene in 2005 as the Ems hitting instructor. Under Oglivie's tutelage, Emeralds sluggers Colt Morton and Lachlan Dale finished first and second in the NWL home run race in 2004. With 17 home runs, Morton became just the eighth Eugene player to win the home run championship.

Oglivie, a three-time Major League All-Star, won the 1980 American League home run crown (41) in 1980. For his career, Oglivie played in 1,754 games and hit .273 with 235 home runs and 900 RBI.

Jo Jo Tarantino, after starting his professional career in 2004 as the Ems trainer, returns to perform the same duties in 2005.

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