As the Danville Otterbots inch closer to Opening Night of the 2023 Appalachian League season, the club announced today that Desi Relaford will return for his third season as Otterbots manager. The 11-year MLB veteran brings his experience on the field and in the dugout back to the Otterbots as they seek to win their first Appy League championship since rebranding.
Relaford began his coaching career in 2018 as the bench coach for the Daytona Tortugas, Advanced-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, where he helped guide the team to a 69-66 overall record and a Florida State League Championship Series berth. In his first two seasons at the helm in Danville, Relaford and the Otterbots produced five Appalachian League All-Stars, one All-Appalachian League player, two MLB Draft picks, and three MLB free agent signings. He has developed talent that is currently represented in the Chicago White Sox, Tampa Bay Rays, Cleveland Guardians, Cincinnati Reds, and New York Yankees organizations.
Prior to the start of his coaching career, Relaford was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 4th round of the 1991 MLB Amateur Draft. His 11 seasons were spent with seven different Major League Baseball teams, including five years with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Throughout his career, Relaford hit .243 with 308 RBI and finished the 2001 season with a career-best .302 average, along with eight home runs and 36 RBI for the Mets. Though he excelled at the plate, Relaford was known for his versatility in the field. He played every defensive position except first base and catcher and accumulated a career .960 fielding percentage. In 2001 he pitched a three up, three down inning with one strikeout, and his career 0.00 ERA is tied for an all-time MLB record.
“I’m happy to be back in Danville for my third season, and I look forward to a fun Otterbots summer,” said Relaford. “Please come out and show your support for our guys!”
After retiring in 2008, Relaford started his own record label, 6 Hole Records, in Jacksonville before getting back into the game as a coach in 2018.