For Pat Listach, the road in his professional career keeps leading him back to the Mariners. It happened again Tuesday when he was hired to replace Roy Howell as the manager of the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers.
It was the Mariners who drafted Listach in 1987, although he turned them down to play at Arizona State before getting drafted the following year by the Milwaukee Brewers.
And it was the Mariners, in 1998, who gave Listach a final spring look as a a major-league player before releasing him just prior to the start of the season. He spent that year in the minors before retiring.
Now, Listach, at 47, returns as manager of the Mariners’ top farm club.
“Pat has a great deal of experience, as a major-league player, and as a minor-league coach and manager,” Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said.
“We are looking forward to having him work with our young players.”
Listach spent this season at the first-base coach at Houston before getting fired in October as part of a staff changeover under new Astros manager A.J. Hinch.
“Pat is passionate about teaching, and has a great track record and experience, both as a player and as a coach,” said Mariners director of player development Chris Gwynn said. “He's a very good fit for our organization, and for the Rainiers.”
Tacoma finished 74-70 in Howell’s only season. He will reassigned to another position within the Mariners’ organization.
Howell was a late replacement at Tacoma for Rich Donnelly, who joined the Mariners’ staff in spring training after third-base coach John Stearns required additional time to recover from surgery for a hiatal hernia.
Ironically, Stearns closed the 2013 season as the Rainiers’ manager.
The Mariners selected Listach in the 23rd round of the 1997 draft, but he signed the following year after the Brewers picked him in the fifth round. Four years later, he was the American League’s Rookie of the Year in 1992.
Listach spent six seasons in the big leagues — five with the Brewers and one with Houston. He finished his career with .251 average, five homers and 143 RBIs in 503 big-league games.
Listach began his coaching career in 2000 in the Chicago Cubs’ organization. He was the Pacific Coast League manager of the year in 2008 after leading the Iowa Cubs to an 83-59 record.
Washington hired Listach as third-base coach in 2009. He later served on the Cubs’ staff from 2011-12. He became the Los Angeles Dodgers’ minor-league infield coordinator in 2013 before joining the Astros’ staff.