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Former Union baseball standout coaching in minor leagues

JACKSON, Tenn. - 7/28/2008 - Former Union University and major league baseball player Luis Ortiz has landed a minor league coaching job with the Spokane (Wash.) Indians. Spokane is a Class A short season minor league affiliate of the Texas Rangers. Ortiz, a Union Bulldog from 1989-91, is in his first season as the team’s hitting coach.

Currently, Ortiz has his Spokane team leading the league with a .283 team batting average. Spokane also sits atop the Northwest League Standings with a 27-8 record, five games better than their nearest competitor.

“It has been a good experience,” states Ortiz. “I am getting the opportunity to teach these players: the professional work ethics, the mental side of the game, how to bounce back from struggles, how the pitchers are trying to get them out plus the proper mechanics of the swing. It has been fun working with talented hitters, because most of the time the information that I provide is put to use very rapidly.” In 1995, Ortiz was traded to the Texas Rangers along with Otis Nixon for Jose Canseco. In 1995, Ortiz played in 41 games for the Rangers, hitting .270 with 18 RBI, five doubles, one triple, and one homerun. He played third base for the Rangers team that boasted all-star players such as Will Clark and Ivan Rodriguez.

His major league career covered parts of four seasons with the Red Sox and Texas Rangers. In all, Ortiz spent 14 years in professional baseball before retiring in 2004. He finished his major league career with a .256 average (Major League Stats | Minor League Stats).

During his career at Union, Ortiz posted a career batting average of .426 with 58 homeruns and 177 RBI in his three years. He still holds Union records including, career slugging percentage (.911), homeruns in a season (26), homeruns in a career (58), 3-year batting average (.426), and total bases in a season (176). His .911 career slugging percentage is also an NAIA record, which he still holds.

His college coach, long-time Union baseball coach and current golf coach, Andy Rushing has nothing but praise for Ortiz. “After just two days on campus, Luis was one of the most popular students on campus. He always had a smile and was genuinely nice to everyone.” Rushing adds, “On the field, he was such a great talent, but he was also the hardest working players on the field.” Rushing accounts the day Ortiz made his debut with the Red Sox. Rushing asked him after the game was he nervous and Ortiz replied, “I wasn’t nervous until we threw the ball around the infield prior to the first pitch and I realized as the third basemen, I had to throw the ball back to Roger (Clemens).”

After his retirement from playing baseball, Ortiz fulfilled a promise to his parents by returning to Union to finish his degree. He owns Swing City at the Athletic Village, a baseball instructional facility in Keller, Texas. He lives in North Richland Hills, Texas, with his wife Susan and their four daughters: Gabriela, Naomi, Samantha and Moriah.

On his plans after this summer, Ortiz says, “I do not know what the future holds. I am torn between my desire to grow a business and see my family every day, and the opportunity to one day go back to the Majors as coach or in any other capacity within the organization. I know that the Lord will provide the wisdom for me to make the decision that would bring him the most glory.”

#UNION#


Steven Aldridge
Phone: (731) 661-5027
Sports Information
Fax: (731) 661-5182

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